While chest pain is usually associated with heart attack, it can also stem from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Therefore, it begs the question of whether your episodes of chest pain is due to a heart attack or acid reflux – so as to take the necessary precautions and treat it right.
Acid reflux chest pain is often referred to as non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP). Such an outcome mimics the pain of angina, which is the pain that roots from the heart directly. In the case of acid reflux and chest pain, the burning sensation is believed to be from the esophageal spasms around the food tube.
Here are some key differences to help you figure out which of the two is your chest discomfort coming from:
Areas of the pain
Both cardiac and acid reflux chest pain can be felt at the breastbone. This makes it hard to differentiate between the two. However, cardiac pain like heart attack is more likely to spread to other parts of your body. These areas include:
– The arms (more often on the upper part of your left arm)
With NCCP, the painful sensation is usually centered at the breastbone or in your lower chest area. The spasms from acid reflux chest pain may also cause pain around the throat area
How do they feel like?
Patients who experience pain from heart diseases typically describe them as:
● Crushing, almost like an elephant siting on your chest
● Immense tightness
On the contrary, acid reflux and chest pain feels sharper and tender. Another difference is that the level of intensity of pain by GERD may increase as you take a deep breath or even cough.
With cardiac scenarios, the pain remains unchanged. They also feel as though it is coming deep from within the heart, instead of near the skin area as with NCCP.
Difference in Symptoms
Perhaps the best way to identify the type of discomfort is by recognizing the symptoms. The agony caused by cardiac problems may make you feel:
– Short of breath
– Numb in the left shoulder
With GERD, the root of the pain is gastrointestinal, meaning you can expect more symptoms of:
● Frequent burping
● Burning sensation in your chest and throat
● Icky taste in the mouth due to regurgitation
● And even trouble swallowing
Chest Pain Treatment
You should treat chest discomfort seriously, especially when it happens often. Your doctor will most likely perform an Electrocardiogram test to rule out whether it’s cardiac or non-cardiac.
Should it be due to acid reflux chest pain, your doctor will most probably put you on medication that helps regulate acid production in the stomach. This will help your body to prevent and cope with the burning effects of the acid.
Acid reflux and chest pain can also be eradicated completely by making adjustments to your lifestyle habits. You might be asked to keep to a specific diet and avoid food triggers such as greasy and spicy meals. The way you eat also goes a long way, as it prevents any kind of complications in the digestive system.
Tags: acid reflux chest pain, cardiac disease, acid reflux and chest pain, health, acid reflux chest tightness