How to distinguish between heartburn, acid reflux, and heart attack

Did you just have a burning sensation in your chest accompanied by a pain radiating from your abdomen to your shoulders and a disorientation? Confused and wondering what happened? Was it a heart attack or heartburn? Here is some information you need to distinguish between heartburn, acid reflux, and heart attack.

Let’s look at each of the condition and their symptoms to differentiate between them.

  • Acid reflux: It is a condition wherein the flap covering the esophagus that shuts after the food enters the digestive system doesn’t close completely, thereby causing the ingested food to be pushed up along with stomach acid. This usually happens because of overeating or smoking or alcohol ingestion. This is not much of concern, if not chronic. Acid reflux and heartburn treatment are quite similar.
  • Heartburn: Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux, wherein you feel a burning sensation in the middle of your chest, which radiates to your throat and ears too. This is most often nothing to worry about, as it can be caused by everyday eating habits. Heartburn treatment is fairly simple. Hence there shouldn’t be much to worry about.
  • Heart attack: The symptoms of heart attack are similar to the above in the beginning, but slowly change over time. The shooting pain that starts from the chest radiates to the left shoulder, continuing towards the left hand. This is further accompanied by dizziness.

Keep in mind that acid reflux and heartburn have lower intensity on the pain as compared to a heart attack. The pain or the discomfort will eventually fade away in case of acid reflux and heartburn, but in the case of a heart attack, there will still be some lingering pain. Undergoing heartburn treatment is a good way to remain cautious so that you don’t confuse it with a heart attack.

Acid reflux and heartburn treatment can be easily done with certain lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines. Periodic checkups with the doctor is a good idea to keep a check on your health and prevent any illness.