You’ve just satisfied your inner cravings with a big meal and feel a weird burning sensation in your chest. It can probably be a heartburn, but there is a minimal risk that it may indicate something more severe. The thing is that heart attack and heartburn symptoms feel very alike, and it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. So, how can you figure out if you need immediate medical attention? Read this blog to find out.

What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) occurs when the arteries supplying the heart do not get sufficient blood flow. As a consequence, the heart muscles do not get enough blood and oxygen, causing them to burn out.

You may feel severe chest pain or chest tightening. If the blood flow to one or more cardiac arteries remains restricted for a long period, it can become life-threatening.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a common problem that occurs when the digestive acids of the stomach reflux into the esophagus (the tube that connects the oral cavity with the stomach).

Heartburn is not a life-threatening condition and can be resolved with the right medications. But, because some symptoms of this condition overlap with heart attack, it may become a cause of stress.

How To Differentiate Between Heart Attack and Heartburn Symptoms?

You may have seen in movies or dramas that a person experiences crushing chest pain when having a heart attack. In real life, however, it may not happen the same way. The signs and symptoms of heart attack vary from person to person. While both heart attack and heartburn may have similar symptoms, the pain sensation and the area affected by the pain are slightly different.

In a heart attack, you may experience an uncomfortable sensation in the center or left side of your chest. Other common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest fullness or tightness
  • Pain that radiates to the neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weakness or fatigue

Heartburn accompanies a dull ache or burning sensation that typically starts in the upper part of the stomach and travels to the chest. It usually occurs after eating, and you may also feel a sour taste in your mouth.

Keep in mind that the symptoms of a heart attack are not relevant to eating. It may occur at any time. Despite these differences, the symptoms may overlap, and it can be difficult to tell them apart.

When To See A Doctor?

If you are unsure whether you are having heartburn or a heart attack, the best course of action is to seek immediate medical attention. Patients with high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease are at higher risk of having a heart attack.

Both heartburn and heart attack can cause chest pain that may last for a few minutes to hours. So, instead of waiting for the pain to go away on its own, it is better to consult a medical specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Final Words

To get an expert opinion from cardiac experts at Epic Heart and Vascular Center, you can call us at Houston: (832) 432-1951 or Willowbrook: (832) 432-1951. We are here to assist you in all possible ways!