Is It Acid Reflux or a Heart Attack?

Heart BurnDuring the holidays especially, there is an increase in the number of visits to the emergency room from people who think they are having a heart attack. Quite often, the ER doctor reassures the scared patient: It’s not a heart attack; it’s heartburn.

What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?

Heartburn is discomfort or pain in your chest. It may start lower in your stomach and move up as the acid moves up. It can be exacerbated by lying down after eating or by bending over with a full stomach. You may get a sour taste in your mouth or actually have stomach acid come up your esophagus and burn the back of your throat.

Why Does Heartburn Make Us Feel Like We’re Having a Heart Attack?

Experiencing pain in your chest is frightening. Heartburn can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, because the pain can be severe, sudden, and scary. With the big meals, alcohol consumption, and overeating that happens during the holidays, heartburn – and unfortunately, heart attacks, are more common. So even though it really might just be heartburn, it’s important to see a doctor to make sure.

How Can I Tell If It’s Heartburn or a Heart Attack?

Unfortunately, sometimes even doctors are unable to tell based on the level of chest pain you are experiencing, and they have to do an EKG and other tests to determine if your heart is involved. And heartburn, in some people, can actually be a symptom of a heart attack. Common heart attack symptoms include pressure in your chest, pain in your chest, jaw, or arm, nausea, breaking out in a sweat, or feeling faint.

When to Call 911

If there is any doubt about what the chest pain or other symptoms you are experiencing might be, it is better to be safe than sorry and either call 911 or go to your local emergency room. It’s better to go and discover you have extreme heartburn than to assume it’s heartburn and not receive emergent treatment when needed.

If you are experiencing symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux, visit Allied Digestive Disease Center of Houston. Our team strives to provide excellence in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition services for patients in North Houston and the surrounding areas. We believe quality care begins with a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating both minor and chronic GI conditions. Schedule an appointment at our practice today by calling 832.912.4481 or fill out the form on this page.

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