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What's That Chest Pain? A Heartburn or a Heart Attack

June 23 2017
Heartburn or a Heart Attack

Have chest pain? It could be related to the heart or something else entirely

India is expected to become the heart disease capital of the world by 2020. 17.5 million people die every year because of heart-related diseases, amounting for 31% of all deaths globally. Cardiovascular diseases are set to reach epidemic proportions in the country as 19 million heart patients are from urban and another 21 million are from rural areas.

Whenever someone thinks of heart attack, or any other cardiovascular condition for that matter, chest pain is what comes to mind. Though chest pain is not always caused by a heart condition, it can also be caused by the digestive system. The latter is usually known as heart burn. It is caused when the stomach acid flows back into your oesophagus (the tube that carries food to your stomach), leaving a burning feeling or pain in your chest, neck or throat.

Since the oesophagus is located close to the heart, many people confuse heartburn with a heart attack. Their case is not helped by the fact that both share the same symptoms and are sometimes nearly indistinguishable from one another. Below we try to bring some more clarity by listing out the symptoms of each.

Symptoms of Heart Attack

The symptoms of heart attack include:

  • Sweating
  • Sickness
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Pain in Other Areas

Symptoms of Heartburn

The symptoms for heartburn are mostly similar to a heart attack. For instance, chest pain is also felt in a heartburn, but if it is accompanied by shortness of breath then it is an indicator of a heart attack. Below are some of the symptoms that suggest you have heartburn.

  • Bitter Taste in Your Mouth
  • Hoarse Voice
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty in Swallowing
  • Damaged Teeth

Why Chest Pain Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Whenever you get a chest pain it should be a cause for concern. Usually minor chest pains are felt due to exertion and stress that is considered normal, and usually goes away with rest. Chronic chest pains on the other hand, portend an impending heart attack or cardiovascular disease. There are different types of chest pain like:

  • Angina Pain: This chest pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart that arises from blockages in the main coronary arteries.

  • Heart Attack Chest Pain: These are more severe than angina pain and usually last longer too (More than 15 minutes).

  • Aortic Dissection: This is caused by very high blood pressure that splits the layer of the wall of the aorta. This is characterised by a sharp tearing pain that also makes its way to the back. This condition can worsen and lead to a heart attack.

  • Pulmonary Embolism: This sharp chest pain is sudden and is usually accompanied by a fast heartbeat and breathlessness. Ironically, it originates from the veins in the legs when they are not moved for a long time (like in long travels).

Prevention of Chest Pain

Chest pain, either in its short or long form is not a good sign and steps should be taken to prevent it from happening at any point in time. There are many things that can be done to prevent it from happening to you, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Eat a balanced meal
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Limit intake of alcohol
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products
  • Reduce stress
  • Enroll in an activity program
  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle

Chest pain and heart diseases are a major threat to one’s well-being. It makes sense to buy a health insurance plan that covers you and your family’s needs. Compare health insurance plans online and buy one to keep yourself safe from coronary heart diseases and heartburn.

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