Friday, June 12, 2015

How To Differentiate Heartburn From Heart Attack?

Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that is caused by gastric acid flowing backwards into the oesophagus. It often occurs after eating and gets worse after bending over or lying down. It is also common in pregnant women, and might be triggered by consuming food in large quantities, or specific foods containing certain spices, high fat content, or high acid content.

During heartburn, there will be a burning feeling in the chest, just behind the breastbone or in the epigastrium, the upper central abdomen. The pain usually rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. Often, there is a sour taste in the mouth or a feeling of food being stuck in the throat.

Heart attack, on the other hand, happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart could not get oxygen. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. Heart attack occurs as a result of coronary heart disease, and it can be associated with or lead to severe health problems like heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias.

Victims of heart attack can have symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, feeling pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach, and shortness of breath. They can have other symptoms like breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired for no reason, nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting, and light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Clearly, heartburn and chest pain or a heart attack can feel very similar. It is not easy to differentiate heartburn from heart attack just based on a medical history and physical examination.

In a group of people presenting to a hospital with GERD symptoms, only 0.6 percent might be due to ischemic heart disease. Up to 30 percent of chest pain patients who have undergone cardiac catheterization have findings that do not account for their chest discomfort. They are often defined as having atypical chest pain or chest pain of undetermined cause. According to data recorded in several studies based on ambulatory pH and pressure monitoring, it is estimated that between 25 percent and 50 percent of these patients have evidence of abnormal GERD.

As a rule of thumb, if a person has symptoms of a heartburn that is accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, radiation of the pain to the arm or back, giddiness or cold sweats, he or she should seek help from a doctor immediately. He or she might be victim of heart attack, especially if he or she has risk factors for coronary heart disease such as hypercholesterolemia or the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and family history of heart disease.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative article, Thanks for sharing information it will help lots of people to get aware as generally people get confused with both the terms.