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  Sloan Searcey   February 10, 2016   Heart, Heartburn, Heart attack 0 Comments

Is it heartburn or a heart attack?

Know the difference between indigestion and a heart attack

Heart burnEveryone has felt it at least once, that intense burning sensation that ignites in your chest. The pain is so sudden it’s terrifying. You think you’re having a heart attack, but then you remember those hot wings you ate for lunch and that soda on the side. Must be heartburn and not a heart attack, right?

More than 40 percent of Americans get heartburn at least once a month. Severe heartburn can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack making it difficult to tell it apart from angina, which is a symptom of a heart attack and can cause similar chest pain. So when should you start to worry?


Heartburn is a discomfort or an actual pain caused by digestive acid from your stomach that moves up into your esophagus. In severe cases, that burning sensation can spread up to your neck, throat or jaw. Heartburn usually occurs after eating, while lying down or when bent over and may be accompanied by a sour taste in your mouth. Heartburn is a symptom caused by foods, medications, GERD and even a hiatal hernia. It’s often confused with indigestion, which is a more general term for the discomfort felt under the ribs and in the stomach and can be a sign of a medical condition.  

Heart attack

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. The blockage is most commonly caused over the course of a few years by plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. There are a number of different conditions that can cause a heart attack, and the symptoms can vary between men and women.

Common symptoms for men:

  • Chest pains.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweat.

Common symptoms for women:

  • Indigestion.
  • Nausea.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Back or shoulder pains.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness.

If any of these symptoms accompany heartburn-like chest pain or heavy chest pain, then it may be heart related. It is very easy to confuse the two, and if you aren’t sure, seek medical attention.

Relieving heartburn

Simply burping or taking an antacid can help alleviate your symptoms. For severe heartburn, avoid cigarettes, anti-inflammatories and citrus. You should also watch the liquids you intake. Lifestyle and dietary changes can help ease indigestion too, so skip those hot wings and that soda at lunch and go for less acidic foods.

It’s important to know what is causing your indigestion so that you can learn how to relieve the pain. The health care professionals at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center can give you a thorough examination and help you determine if it’s heartburn or your heart.

Caring for strep throat

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Medical disclaimer

This site offers medical, health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. General information found on this website is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional.

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