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4 Ways to Know if it’s Just Heartburn, or a Heart Attack

Maybe you’re not a hypochondriac, but when you get a sudden pain in the chest, you can’t help at least think about it: is that gas, or worse… a heart attack!

Okay, most of you probably aren’t that worried. But wouldn’t you like to know the difference between simple gas pains, and something much worse? In 2005, there were 445,687 deaths in the United States that were as a result of a heart attack or angina. That’s about one of every five deaths! So, maybe it is a good idea to know the difference, huh?

Heartburn can be caused by several things, including diet, acid reflux, or problems with the stomach lining. Even worse, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can actually lead to something called Barrett’s esophagus. That, in turn, is a risk factor for esophageal cancer. But you don’t have to worry about that unless you are constantly having trouble. If so, you should see your doctor.

So, when should you worry about a possible heart attack? Here are some warning signs from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Sudden pressure, tightening, squeezing or crushing pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Pain spreading to the back, neck, jaw, shoulders or arms — especially the left arm
  • Chest discomfort accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness or nausea
  • Pressure or tightness in the chest during physical activity or when you’re under emotional stress

(via: Mayo Clinic)

May 5th, 2009

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2 Responses to “4 Ways to Know if it’s Just Heartburn, or a Heart Attack”


Steve Parker, M.D.
May 5th, 2009
11:58 am

By chance, I was thinking about this recently after I was paged by a hospital nurse about my patient having chest pain as I sat down to dinner with my family. Here’s my blog post about some scary stuff, at the Hospitalist With a View blog: ————-Steve


Heart Burn
May 8th, 2009
2:04 am

Hi,

I really liked your post, interesting perspective. I was looking out for the same kind of information. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

There are many people who suffer from heartburn, acid reflux and other digestive problems. While everyone sometimes has to deal with digestive problems when they are chronic or severe you need to find assistance. The symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux can be painful as well as embarrassing. They may even cause such severe pain that they imitate a heart attack.

The most common way that people try to deal with these problems is by taking over the counter medications such as antacids. These pills are made to combat the symptoms of pain and gas. Those who have chronic digestive problems sometimes get prescription medication that is a stronger version of the over the counter type.