Most people experience occasional heartburn (also called acid indigestion)
in their lifetime, while others suffer with frequent episodes that interfere
with daily living. Because heartburn often spreads across the chest, it
sometimes mimics a heart attack. Both conditions can cause chest pain
or pressure, so it’s important to know the difference.
Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the chest or throat caused
by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus. Along with this discomfort,
you may have a sour taste in your mouth as well. An over-the-counter antacid
should relieve heartburn, but if chest pain persists, seek medical attention
right away. Untreated heartburn can lead to a condition called gastroesophageal
reflux disease (GERD), which is serious and can damage the esophagus.
Heart attack symptoms
You’re probably aware of the classic symptoms of a heart attack:
intense chest pain that can come on suddenly or gradually, accompanied
by shortness of breath. Lesser known symptoms include extreme fatigue,
nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness and pain that radiates to the jaw,
neck or back. If you believe you might be having a heart attack, call 911.