If, after eating, you experience a burning sensation just behind your breastbone, chest pain, or burning in your throat, especially after bending over or lying down, chances are you’re experiencing heartburn. However, heartburn symptoms have been known to mimic more serious problems. Knowing the facts can mean the difference between taking an antacid or taking a trip to the emergency room.
According to health experts, heart disease symptoms or “angina” can be similar to heartburn. Gastroenterologists can assist in diagnosing the true problem, and they suggest paying attention to timing and patterns of pain. If you’re experiencing heartburn-like symptoms during or right after strenuous or even moderate activity, it may be time to check in with your doctor. If you’re age 50 or older, these symptoms tend to raise suspicion about angina, especially if the issues are new to you.
The Mayo Clinic reports heart attacks share common symptoms with heartburn as well. If you have persistent chest pain and you’re not sure whether it’s just that spicy burrito you ate, seek medical attention immediately. Keep in mind that with a heart attack you’ll probably experience pressure and tightness along with the pain. Sometimes a squeezing or aching feeling will occur in your chest or arms that can begin to spread to your neck, jaw, or back. You may also experience indigestion along with nausea, heartburn symptoms, and even abdominal pain, but you’ll recognize the difference if it’s accompanied by shortness of breath, cold sweats, and sudden fatigue, along with feeling lightheaded and dizzy.
There are many other mixed signals when it comes to heartburn-like symptoms. Some people experience a muscle spasm in their esophagus that causes chest pain. Patients suffering from a gallbladder attack have also experienced chest pain. Another misconception that has been shrugged off as heartburn is when a stone blocking the bile duct caused by gallstones causes pain in the middle or upper-right side of your abdomen. Stomach ulcers can also cause pain in the chest.
Research shows that many situations may produce symptoms of heartburn. The key to treating the issue properly, aside from knowing your body, is to seek medical attention if the problem persists. Too often these problems go unattended and get blown off by taking a simple swig of antacid liquid. You can avoid sitting in the ER hooked up to machines by getting a medical examination sooner rather than later.
If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the symptoms described above, make an appointment with a medical professional immediately. Don’t let the minor inconvenience of what you may think is only heartburn get the best of you. W