Is it a heart attack or heartburn?

Is it a heart attack or heartburn?

Anyone who is worried about chest Or heart pain should not wait to get urgent medical care. They should call for an ambulance straight away, especially if the pain is unexplained, sudden, or severe.

A heart attack is an event caused by disease in the coronary arteries. These blood vessels supply blood to the heart, keeping it alive with energy and oxygen.  A heart attack can lead to the heart stopping. This is called a cardiac arrest. Someone with cardiac arrest will not be responsive and will have no pulse.

Heartburn is a symptom, not a disease. It is the sensation, usually of burning pain, caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux is the contents of the stomach splashing back up into the food pipe.

Heartburn is not related to the heart in any way. The confusion comes from the location of the pain, in the chest.  The stomach produces mucus to protect its lining from the acid that it uses to help with digestion.

The food pipe lacks this protection, so acid reflux can damage its lining. For many people, though, acid reflux does not cause such damage.

The main difference between symptoms is that:

  • Heartburn tends to be worse after eating and when lying down, but a heart attack can happen after a meal, too.
  • Heartburn can be relieved by drugs that reduce acid levels in the stomach.
  • Heartburn does not cause more general symptoms, such as breathlessness.
  • A heart attack does not cause bloating or belching, but these can happen with heartburn.

If there is any suspicion of a heart attack, getting to an emergency room quickly is important.   If you are not sure to seek medical attention immediately.

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