Many people experience heartburn after eating certain foods. The most common symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation in the stomach or chest area. The pain can last for a few minutes or several days. While heartburn can be annoying, it is harmless. The symptoms of heartburn can mimic those of a heart attack, and for some people it can be hard to distinguish the difference between the two.
If you are having a heart attack, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. While the pain associated with heart attacks can be similar to that experienced during heartburn, there are several other symptoms associated with heart attacks that you should recognize.
Heartburn happens when stomach acids overflow and move into the esophagus. The burning sensation is felt as a result of these acids burning the lining of the esophagus. Certain foods and bad habits such as smoking can cause stomach acids to build up faster and lead to heartburn. Pain is usually the only symptom experienced.
One of the first signs of a heart attack is often pain in the chest. This pain is often compared to severe heartburn and can easily be shrugged off at first. If you are experiencing chest pain accompanied by a tight feeling in your chest or around your heart, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or pain in the shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms along with your chest pain, you may be having a heart attack. Heartburn is usually experienced after eating, but a heart attack can happen anytime.
If you have a history of heart disease and heartburn, you may want to consider taking medication that can reduce stomach acids and prevent heartburn. Once your heartburn is under control, it will be easier to determine if chest pain is related to a heart attack.
Knowing the difference between heartburn symptoms and the symptoms of a heart attack can save your life or an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. If you are unable to determine if you are suffering from heartburn or a heart attack, it is better to be safe than sorry and you should seek medical attention.
Have you ever confused heartburn with a heart attack?
Image via Wikimedia Commons