Burning sensations in the chest- Acidity or heart attack?

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

You must have heard about how someone passed away following a major heart attack and how he could have been saved if only he had complained about that burning in chest, a bit earlier! But how could the deceased have known that the burning was not because of the heavy dinner last night, but in fact, a sign of an impending heart attack?

It may be difficult to differentiate between the two, say experts. There are some pointers that help but if you are in doubt, always get yourself checked. Even if it is a false alarm, you only stand to be relieved. If you have a strong family history of heart disease, if you smoke and drink alcohol, if you are obese and if you suffer from diabetes and heart disease then do not ever ignore any complains related to the chest. Always get yourself checked.

Heartburn, or acidity usually follows a pattern. It is felt after you have eaten a heavy meal or have remained hungry for a long period of time. It happens due to the reflux of gastric juices and is associated with nausea and a sour taste in the mouth. The heartburn is aggravated by lying down, as it increases the reflux.

Unfortunately, there are no ways to predict the time of the day, or the circumstances under which a heart attack might occur. It could strike in the middle of the night, after a heavy meal, during or immediately after sexual activity, or even, after heavy physical activity. The pain that is felt after any of the mentioned activities, may subside with some rest, but if you have been diagnosed with a heart disease or are at risk of it, it is always best to get a checkup in good time.

Sometimes, the symptoms of reflux or common heartburn related to indigestion, can be similar to a heart attack. If you have suffered from heartburn all your life and the symptoms you are now experiencing are identical to those you have dealt with before, chances are you are experiencing heartburn and not a heart attack. But if the symptoms are ones you've never experienced before and are accompanied by feeling light-headed or sweaty, then this heartburn should be taken far more seriously. You could well be having a heart attack!

Getting regular check-ups done between the ages of 45 and 50, or before beginning a heavy exercise program, is essential as per most experts. Unfortunately though, certain heart conditions remain hidden and put people at risk for sudden death.