Heartburn Symptoms

November 12, 2012

Heartburn Symptoms

Heartburn is the primary symptom of GERD but not everyone who has heartburn is suffering with GERD and not everyone with GERD suffers from heartburn. There are many other causes of heartburn including conditions relating to the intestines. Cardiac problems can often appear similar to heartburn symptoms and it is important not to mistake one for the other. Any pain in the chest should be properly checked out in order to identify the cause. Common tests include an exercise stress test and an EKG, which are often done first to check for cardiac problems before looking into gastrointestinal problems.

Heartburn symptoms are the same for everyone

Triggers of heartburn can differ in each person but generally the heartburn symptoms are similar. A burning sensation in the chest, which occurs after eating and lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. Chest pain that occurs after lying down, eating or bending over is another heartburn symptom as is a burning feeling in the back of the throat or an acidic or sour taste in the mouth. Further heartburn symptoms include difficulty swallowing, feeling as though there is a piece of food stuck in the chest or throat and a chronic cough or sore throat. The presence of these symptoms will often be enough for your doctor to make a diagnosis of heartburn but in some cases tests may be required. Testing can help to identify the severity of symptoms and also monitor the effectiveness of treatment. If there are any unusual heartburn symptoms also present such as weight loss then further, specialised test may be performed to rule out any other conditions or complications.

How to recognize a heartburn?

One of the most common reasons for a rushed trip to the emergency room is the onset of chest pain. In many cases the person is suffering from a heart attack but there also many individuals who are suffering from a particularly severe episode of heartburn. The pain caused by the two condition are so similar that there are times when even doctors can’t distinguish between the two and it is not uncommon for medical testing to be needed to identify what is going on. To make it even more confusing, the group of people most likely to suffer from these conditions are the same and additionally other symptoms of a heart attack are also very similar to heartburn symptoms. Some examples of heartburn symptoms, which could be mistaken for a heart attack include:

  • An intense burning sensation bellow the breastbone or ribs

  • In rare cases the pain can travel to the shoulders, neck or arms

  • Pain most often occurs after meals, during exercise or when lying down

  • In rare cases a cold sweat can occur

  • Symptoms often responsive to antacids

Below are some common symptoms of angina, which is a condition causing severe pain in the chest or a heart attack:

  • A tightness or a feeling of dull pressure over the centre of the chest

  • Sudden chest pain or the pressure becoming worse

  • Dizziness or light-headedness

  • Pain often spreads to the shoulders, neck, jaw or arms

  • Pain usually responds well to nitro-glycerine

  • Shortness of breath

  • There is often a cold sweat

If you experience any of these symptoms and believe they are warning signs of a heart attack, seek medical attention quickly. If it turns out not to be a heart attack then you can seek the appropriate treatment to relieve your heartburn symptoms.

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