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Heart attack and heartburn are two different diseases that might share the same symptom: chest pain. And, while some visual depictions of heart attacks make them appear as large, chest-clutching shows, this is not necessarily true. This blog discusses how to determine the difference between heartburn and a heart attack. However, if you are not clear about what you are experiencing, it is always preferable to be safe than sorry. If your chest pain makes you worried, visit a nearby hospital for treatment

What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when a major artery or arteries in your heart aren't getting enough blood flow. As a result, parts of your heart do not receive sufficient blood flow and oxygen. Doctors refer to this condition as ischemia. To understand ischemia, consider transitioning from standing still to running. After a few seconds, your lungs are likely to be burning and your chest tight (unless you are an athlete). These are some examples of transient ischemia that resolves as you slow down, or your heart rate returns to normal.

However, when a person has a heart attack, their heart can’t work to produce more blood flow. The results can be chest pain, but other symptoms occur too. Different arteries in the heart supply blood to different areas of the heart. Sometimes, a person’s symptoms can vary because of where they’re experiencing their heart attack. Other times, the symptoms are different because people’s bodies respond differently to lack of blood flow and oxygen. 

Typical heart attack signs and symptoms include:

What is Heartburn? 

Heartburn happens when acid from your stomach rises into your oesophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach) as well as into your mouth.

The acid in your stomach has the purpose of dissolving food and nutrients. Your gut lining is strong enough to deal with acid.
However, the lining of the oesophagus does not include the same tissues as the stomach. When acid rises into the oesophagus, it can cause a burning feeling. This might lead to chest discomfort and pain.

Typical features of heartburn include:

  • A burning sensation in the chest that may also involve the upper abdomen
  • Usually occurs after eating, when lying down or bending over
  • May wake you up from sleep, especially if you ate within two hours of going to bed
  • Is usually relieved by antacid medicine
  • It may be accompanied by a sour taste on your tongue, particularly while you're lying down
  • A tiny amount of your intestines may rise into the back of your neck.

How do heart attack and heartburn treatments differ?

Heartburn Treatment

Heartburn treatment differs according to the seriousness of the underlying ailment. Some people can alleviate heartburn with dietary changes, such as avoiding acid-producing foods like chocolate, coffee, spicy meals, carbonated drinks, & citrus.
People with mild heartburn may simply need over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums or Rolaids, to treat symptoms.
Moderate to severe heartburn can require histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers such as Pepcid or Zantac), protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) that lower stomach acid production, such as esomeprazole (Nexium) or omeprazole (Prilosec), or even surgery (fundoplication).

Heart Attack Treatment

The treatment for a heart attack may differ slightly from patient to patient, depending on the extent and severity of the incident. In most cases, however, a heart attack is treated in the emergency department and/or the hospital's intensive care unit, cardiac catheterization facility, or telemetry unit. Because a heart attack can be caused by complete or partial coronary artery blockage, treatment options may differ and overlap depending on your cardiologist's recommendation.

What is the outcome after a heart attack and heartburn?

The majority of persons with heartburn have a good to excellent prognosis if they take preventative measures. Severe heartburn has a poor prognosis since it can cause oesophagal damage, Barrett's oesophagus, and difficulty swallowing due to stricture formation.

If a heart attack is treated quickly, the prognosis can be good to fair; however, if a large amount of heart muscle is injured or destroyed during the attack, the prognosis deteriorates significantly. Heart attack complications include abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmias), damage to the heart valves, heart failure, repeated heart attacks, and/or sudden death.

After surviving a heart attack, complications are more common. Complications are less common following heartburn.

Prevent a Heart Attack or Heartburn

Heartburn and heart attacks may be decreased or avoided. A well-balanced diet, combined with regular exercise, is essential for avoiding heartburn and/or heart attacks. In addition to treating the root cause of heartburn, lifestyle adjustments and natural home treatments can help avoid it.

  • Eat small, more frequent meals.
  • Do not eat about three hours before bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of your bed by about 6 inches.
  • Do not eat or drink foods that are acidic or trigger acid development in the stomach.
  • If you are obese, lose weight.
  • Stop smoking and/or drinking alcohol.
  • Try to take your heartburn medication at the same time each day.

Lifestyle changes, for example, can minimise or prevent the chance of recurrent or initial heart attacks: 

  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise.
  • Reduce stress by doing yoga, meditation, and increasing relaxation.
  • Keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
  • Take appropriate medication to treat other medical problems such as diabetes.
  • If you are obese, lose weight.
  • Keep your cholesterol levels within the normal ranges.


Heartburn and heart attacks might be confused for one another due to similar symptoms, but it's critical to understand the distinction. In this blog post, we covered how to recognise the signs and symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack, as well as preventative methods to lower risk factors.  If you have any symptoms that you suspect may indicate a heart attack, seek medical assistance right once.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What makes your symptoms better?

A: Sitting up and taking antacids usually alleviates heartburn symptoms. Lying flat and bending forward makes matters worse. Antacids and sitting up are unlikely to relieve your symptoms after a heart attack. Activity frequently worsens them.

2. When did you last eat?

A: Heartburn symptoms typically appear within a few hours of eating. If you haven't eaten in a while, your symptoms are less likely to be reflux-related. The symptoms of a heart attack are unrelated to eating.

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