Often times the symptoms of heartburn or indigestion are mistaken for those of acute Angina, or even a full-fledged heart attack! This is fairly common, as heartburn and indigestion are closely related to issues of the heart, and their symptoms have a lot of overlap.
Heartburn vs. Heart Attack
In the US each and every year countless Americans are sent to the emergency room, with what they believe to be a heart attack – however, 8 million such cases are due to severe heartburn or acid reflux.
For those individuals suffering from heartburn or acid reflux, a class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPI’s has been an absolute godsend. An according to studies done, 1 in every 14 Americans takes or has taken a PPI over the course of their lives. And while these drugs have been amazing for suppressing the onset of heartburn issues, recently scientists have discovered they may increase your chances of heart attack as well as interfere with anti-stroke and heart attack drugs, such as Plavix.
Much of this is due to the previously mentioned overlap in symptoms of heartburn and heart disease related issues like heart attack or angina. This is why it is important to undergo a number of diagnostic testing efforts before agreeing to treatment for any one condition, especially when it comes to issues like GERD (acid reflux) or heart disease.
To better help you understand how closely related these issues are, here is a chart showing the similarities in the symptoms for the two issues.
Symptoms of ANGINA or a HEART ATTACK
- Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest
- Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Cold sweat or clammy skin
- Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting
- The appearance of symptoms with physical exertion or extreme stress
Symptoms of HEARTBURN (GERD)
- Burning chest pain that begins at the breastbone
- Pain that moves up toward your throat but doesn’t typically radiate to your shoulders, neck, or arms
- Sensation that food is coming back into your mouth
- Bitter or acidic taste at the back of your throat
- Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over
- The appearance of symptoms after a large or spicy meal