Heartburn or Heart Attack? Learn How to Spot the Difference

Published July 13, 2018 by

Heartburn and a heart attack can exhibit some very similar symptoms, but these two conditions are certainly not the same. Be able to recognize the difference between the two with these helpful tips.

Illustration of red chest pain on black and white photo of womanWhat is Heartburn?

Heartburn is pain or discomfort that is caused by digestive acid moving into your esophagus. Common symptoms of heartburn include:

  • Burning sensation in the upper abdomen that moves into chest area
  • Often occurs after eating or at night while lying down
  • A sour taste in your mouth
  • Regurgitation (small amounts of food moving upward to the back of your throat)

Typically, heartburn is the result of another condition such as GERD or dyspepsia. This means that heartburn is really just a symptom whereas a heart attack is a life threatening condition. In fact, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart at all, but is given its name for the feeling it simulates.

What are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

Despite having similar symptoms to heartburn, the symptoms of a heart attack are quite unique:

  • Pain, pressure, or a squeezing sensation in your chest or arms that begins to spread to the neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweats
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Persistence or increasing intensity of symptoms over the course of several minutes

The symptoms of a heart attack often come on very quickly, as they are typically a result of a blockage within the coronary artery.

Still in Doubt?

Many individuals question the difference between a heartburn and a heart attack if they have never before experienced the symptoms of either condition. If you are ever unsure, it is always best to play it safe and contact medical authorities immediately.

For additional evaluation and diagnosis of heartburn or a related gastroenterologic condition, please request an appointment with one of the excellent gastroenterology experts at Carlos A. Barba, MD, PLLC.
Contact Dr. Carlos A. Barba for additional evaluation and diagnosis of heartburn or a related gastroenterlogic condition. Dr. Barba is a board-certified surgeon specializing in diagnosing and treating gastroenterologic conditions. Call (956) 621-4981 to schedule an appointment at our office in Harlingen and Brownsville, TX today!

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https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/in-depth/heartburn-gerd/art-20046483 https://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_vs_heartburn_differences/article.htm#heart_attack_vs_heartburn_quick_comparison_of_differences

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