Heart Burn or Heart Attack – How to Tell the Difference and When to go to the ER

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: March 19, 2021

heart burn heart attack chest pain tampa cardio

What is heart burn? – If you are lucky enough never to have had the pleasure to personally experience this health disturbance let us try and describe it for you.  Heart burn usually begins with a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and can move up the chest. It may also leave a sour taste in your mouth, and you may regurgitate food back up into your mouth. It can awaken you from a dead sleep and mostly occurs within 2 hours of eating. It can be very painful and chest pain can be confusing.

If you are experiencing chest pain and burning there is a good chance it is heart burn. Antacids help to relieve heartburn when taken orally.

While your pain is most likely heart burn, there is a chance that chest pain also can be caused by reduced flow of blood to the heart and it is an actual heart attack. The two can feel similar. This is why if you go to the ER complaining of chest pain you are seen as soon as possible.

If your heart/chest pain persists and antacids don’t seem to be helping at all, it is advisable to get it checked out medically. This is one case where it is definitely better safe than sorry.

Here are the symptoms to watch out for as they are markers of heart attack (angina) not simply heart burn from digestive issues.

  • Pain, Pressure, tightness, or a squeezing/aching sensation in your chest that spreads to your jaw, back, or neck.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea, indigestion, abdominal pain, and heart burn

A gallbladder attack can also mimic heart attack. With a gallbladder attack it may feel more like a pain that goes straight through you from your diaphragm to the back of your rib cage. A steady ache in your middle or upper right abdomen. They occur mostly right after a meal high in fat. Similar pain may also be caused by a muscle spasm in your esophagus.

If your chest pain does not cease, please seek medical advice as soon as possible. While many conditions can wait, chest pain isn’t one of them.  Please go to your nearest ER or Urgent Care clinic or call us at Tampa Cardiovascular Associates of Tampa Bay, Florida. www.tampacardio.com 813-975-2800.


Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 19/03/2021

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