Heartburn and heart attack may feel familiar to some but there is a huge difference between them. Most of the time people tend to ignore the early symptoms of the heart attack thinking that it’s just heartburn. And this can lead to a life-threatening situation. So it is extremely important to know the difference between these two although patients should consult with doctors immediately in both cases.
Following are discussed some authentic facts and differences that can clear any confusion between heart attack and heartburn.
Heartburn can not be classified as a disease. It feels like a sensation of burning pain in the chest that can be a source of discomfort for a person. Heartburn is not directly linked to the heart. This burning pain or sensation is due to acid reflux. It means that the contents of the abdomen such as digestive acid moves into the esophagus through which food is swallowed down into the stomach.
The stomach has a natural mucosal lining and an efficient digestive acid that aids in the digestion of food. This mucosal lining shields the stomach itself from the digestive acid. But as the esophagus lacks the protection of any such mucosal lining when acid reflux occurs, it results in heartburn.
There could be several reasons that can trigger heartburn in a person. Some might experience it simply after having food or lying down immediately after food. In this case, heartburn will also disturb one’s sleep quality.
The most common symptoms of heartburn may include the following.
- Sour tastes mainly while resting or bending.
- Some of the acids can move up into the back of the mouth.
One can also avoid heartburn by limiting the alcohol intake, cigarettes, citrus foods, etc. If one always experiences heartburn while sleeping, they can raise the bed head side a few inches. Although it is much better to consult a health expert, there are also medications like Pantoprazole or other numerous over-the-counter medications available for treating heartburn.
Heart attack is a serious heart condition that occurs when the blood flow is reduced to the arteries of the heart. Reduced blood flow will result in a reduction of oxygen supply to the heart. This condition is termed ischemia by medical practitioners. But a heart attack is a step ahead of ischemia.
In a heart attack, the chest pain is unbearable for some patients. Symptoms may differ from person to person depending upon the severity. A heart attack often results in cardiac arrest.
Cardiac arrest is not similar to a heart attack in the sense when a heart attack occurs the blood flow towards the heart is reduced or stopped. But when cardiac arrest occurs the beat stops. A patient suffering from cardiac arrest may not have a pulse.
Another chest pain that is also quite similar to heart attack is angina but is different. Because as compared to coronary artery congestion causing reduced blood flow to the heart in angina occurs due to shrinking of blood vessels. An angina patient is more prone to suffer from a heart attack.
Some of the common symptoms found in heart attack patients are as follows.
- Sudden cold sweats
- Difficulty in breathing
Differences Between Heartburn And Heart Attack
It is not easy to recognize for a normal person that the discomfort or pain he is feeling is the sign of a heart attack or just heartburn. Often the initial symptoms of the heart attack may feel similar to those of heartburn and the individual will most likely get himself medications for heartburn.
For instance, heartburn can be treated with specific drugs but they won’t affect if the pain is of a heart attack. Also, breathlessness is not a symptom of heartburn but a heart attack. Similarly bloating is not a symptom of a heart attack.
So seeking medical aid is the most appropriate thing one must do especially if the symptoms continue. Doctors diagnose the issue based on symptoms along with tests and start the treatment.
Heart attack and heartburn are two different medical conditions. Although basic symptoms may be the same, prolonged ignorance of the symptoms may lead to serious health issues. Patients may experience differences in symptoms depending on several factors. So it is better to consult a doctor immediately if over-the-counter medications are not helping or if the patient experiences symptoms that are not specific to the heartburn. Timely diagnosis and treatment can save many lives!