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Does heartburn affect the heart: Heart disease and heartburn: What’s the overlap?

Heart disease and heartburn: What’s the overlap?

Heart and stomach-related problems can share underlying causes and symptoms.

Heartburn and heart disease have one big thing in common: their classic symptoms cause discomfort in the center of the chest. Heartburn happens when acid from the stomach splashes up into the esophagus (the tube connecting the stomach to the throat) and creates a burning sensation. Insufficient blood flow to the heart’s arteries can cause angina or a heart attack, which often produces a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest. But it’s not always easy to tell the difference.

“Even emergency room physicians grapple with distinguishing between heart attacks and heartburn based on how people describe their symptoms,” says Dr. Michelle O’Donoghue, cardiovascular specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In cases where heartburn seems more likely, doctors often give people a fast- acting antacid such as Mylanta to see if that relieves their symptoms, she says.

Of the over eight million emergency room visits for chest pain each year, severe heartburn (known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) accounts for over half the cases in which actual heart problems are ruled out. But to be on the safe side, always see a doctor if you have symptoms you are unsure about, and head to the emergency room if you have other heart attack symptoms (see “Heartburn or heart attack?”).

Heartburn or heart attack?

While heartburn is more likely to appear after a large or spicy meal, heart attacks are more common after physical exertion or stress. But if you’re unsure, seek medical help right away.


Angina or heart attack

Heartburn (GERD)

  • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

  • Burning chest pain that begins at the breastbone
  • Pain that moves up toward your throat but doesn’t typically radiate to your shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Sensation that food is coming back into your mouth
  • Bitter or acidic taste at the back of your throat
  • Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over

Heart-stomach overlaps

In addition to its role in GERD, acid in the digestive tract can also eat away at the lining of the stomach or small intestine, creating irritated, raw spots that can turn into painful, bleeding sores called peptic ulcers. The main symptom of peptic ulcer disease is a dull or burning pain in the stomach, anywhere between the breastbone and navel.

“Some factors that make people more likely to develop heart disease, such as smoking and being older or overweight, also increase the risk for GERD or a peptic ulcer,” says Dr. O’Donoghue. Common medications — namely, aspirin and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) — used to treat these conditions may also be part of the picture.

Nearly everyone who’s had a heart attack takes low-dose aspirin, which helps avert future heart attacks by preventing blood components called platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots. People who’ve received an artery-opening stent are often prescribed clopidogrel (Plavix), a more potent anti-platelet drug. Here’s the problem: Aspirin also blocks a chemical that protects the lining of the stomach from stomach acid. Taking clopidogrel or a similar medication with aspirin can further increase the risk of stomach bleeding.

People with heartburn often take PPIs, which include over-the-counter drugs such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and prescription drugs such as pantoprazole (Protonix). These drugs prevent certain cells in the stomach from pumping out acid. Even people who don’t have heartburn may benefit from this stomach-protecting effect. That’s why doctors sometimes prescribe PPIs for people who take aspirin, clopidogrel, or related drugs that may increase stomach irritation, says Dr. O’Donoghue. She typically recommends PPIs for people who are taking long-term aspirin or clopidogrel if they have ever had a peptic ulcer or are at high risk of developing one.

Take-home advice

GERD is far more common than peptic ulcer disease, however. If you take PPIs to treat GERD, be sure to seek medical attention if you have chest discomfort brought on by exercise that’s not relieved with an antacid, as that scenario is more characteristic of a heart-related problem.

Image: © Pixologicstudio/Getty Images

Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Related To Heart Disease? | Article

Acid reflux is a chronic condition where stomach acids leak back into the esophagus and irritate the stomach lining causing heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic condition, diagnosed by a gastroenterologist, where acid reflux occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks. GERD is generally considered a harmless disease where you have a burning sensation in your chest after eating acidic foods. Many people have GERD, 93 million people in the U.S. to be exact. Just take some antacids. No biggie, right? Wrong!

People who have GERD are more likely than others to end up with heart disease, characterized by abnormal heartbeats, plaque buildup in the heart arteries or reduced blood flow to the heart. In 2010, heart disease caused one out of every four U.S. deaths. If you have abnormal signs or symptoms, go to the emergency room.

It is important for patients and healthcare providers to be aware of health problems that might signal heart disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels are known to increase heart disease risks.

New research suggests that GERD may be another risk factor. Doctors at the National Area Military Health System found that military service members and their family members with GERD were 40 percent more likely than those without GERD to end up with atrial fibrillation – a type of heart disease that causes irregular heartbeats. Atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke and heart failure. If you have chest pain, go to the emergency room.

Another study found that patients with coronary heart disease were twice as likely to have been previously diagnosed with GERD. Individuals with coronary heart disease have excess plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. In yet another study, a subset of patients who sought medical care for GERD were found to have ischemic heart disease or reduced blood flow to the heart. Scientists are not sure why a link between GERD and heart disease exists. Some think the proximity of the heart to the esophagus may cause one to affect the other.

GERD can be managed by monitoring the following behaviors: avoiding foods such as chocolate, coffee, peppermint, spicy foods and tomato products; quitting smoking; taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication or losing weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is the only known cure for GERD. Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce risks for the different types of heart disease. Patients diagnosed with acid reflux should use that information as a reminder that maintaining a healthy weight can prevent heart disease.

People diagnosed with GERD should also remember to get annual physical exams. The key to preventing cardiovascular disease is managing your risk factors. But how do you know which risk factors you have? The best way to find out is through screening tests during regular doctor visits. Annual physicals can detect heart disease at early stages. It can also let you know if you have risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, or GERD.

If your test results are less than ideal, it does not mean you are destined to develop a serious heart disease. It means you are in a position to change your health in a positive way. Screening results can serve as a wake-up call to modify your diet and get more physical activity to prevent future heart disease.

To maintain a healthy weight, follow the Performance Triad guidelines at http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/campaigns/perftriad/Pages/default.aspx.

For information about heart disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm.

The Veterans Administration/Department of Defense Cardiovascular Clinical Practice has heart healthy materials at https://www.qmo.amedd.army.mil/QMOCPGShopCart/products.asp?cat=4.

For information on symptoms of a heart attack, visit the National Institute for Health website at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack/signs.

Army Public Health Center (Provisional)

Performance Triad Guidelines

Centers for Disease Control

National Institute for Health

VA/DOD Cardiovascular Clinical Practice

How to distinguish a heart attack from normal heartburn

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Many people have experienced heartburn at least once in their lives – an unpleasant burning sensation that rises from the stomach into the chest. In fact, there is nothing dangerous in heartburn itself (of course, if it is not caused by serious diseases of the esophagus). However, sometimes under the guise of harmless heartburn, a heart problem, including a heart attack, can be hidden. We tell you how to distinguish it in order to see a doctor in time.

Symptoms of heartburn

Acid reflux causes heartburn. This is when excess acid in your stomach starts to move up your esophagus. All this is accompanied by a burning sensation and pain. It begins to spread from the upper abdomen to the chest.

Two symptoms indicate that you have heartburn, and not heart problems – belching and an acid taste in your mouth. If they are, it is enough for you to drink medicines that change the acidic environment in the stomach to an alkaline one, and everything will pass.

Symptoms of a heart attack

Photo: pexels.com

This disease is always accompanied by angina – chest pain, which is often mistaken for heartburn. By its nature, it is really very similar to acid reflux. However, it can still be distinguished by the following signs:

  • severe shortness of breath even at rest,
  • nausea,
  • abruptly overtaking inexplicable fatigue,
  • increased sweating,
  • severe and sudden dizziness,
  • pain spreading to the arm, shoulder, neck or jaw.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or your loved ones, call an ambulance immediately. However, if you have simple heartburn, but it happens too often, this is also a good reason to visit a doctor and check the digestive system.

Earlier, we talked about what changes in your appearance indicate heart problems.

Based on materials from medikforum.ru.

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The doctor called heart disease a possible cause of heartburn and sore throat – Gazeta.Ru

The doctor called heart disease a possible cause of heartburn and sore throat – Gazeta.Ru | News

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Cardiovascular disease is often disguised as symptoms that an untrained person is unlikely to associate with the heart. So, talking about heart disease can, for example, snoring, sore throat and heartburn. Maxim Maskin, a therapist, gastroenterologist and chief physician of the Hemotest Laboratory, told Gazeta.Ru about this.

According to the expert, the first atypical symptom of heart problems may be tinnitus and flies in the eyes. This can manifest itself as hypertension, which, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure, heart attack and coronary heart disease. Also, hypertension can be suspected by nausea, dizziness, insomnia.

“Loud snoring with apnea – repeated episodes of breath holding for 10 seconds or longer should also be a cause for concern. During such stops of breathing, the cells of the body do not receive oxygen, hypoxia develops. As a result, the load on the vessels and the heart increases, arrhythmia, ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction may develop, ”the therapist warned.

Warning signs of heart problems are also sharp shooting pain in the jaw, aching pain in the teeth or in the throat. This may be a sign of a heart attack – angina pectoris.

“This is the so-called radiating pain – nerve impulses from a diseased organ propagate through nerve fibers to healthy ones. So, with angina pectoris, many patients do not feel discomfort in the chest, but complain of pain on the left side – in the arm, shoulder, under the shoulder blade, in the lower jaw and even in the throat, ”said Maxim Maskin.

He noted that sometimes heart disease also masquerades as poisoning or a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. As in the case of aching toothache due to a heart attack, stomach pain is a radiating pain. It seems to a person that the stomach hurts, but in fact there are problems with the heart.

“The main difference between heart symptoms and true heartburn or gastritis is that pain occurs regardless of meals and body position. In case of a heart attack, the pain is squeezing, antispasmodics or heartburn medicines will not help from it, ”the gastroenterologist explained.

May indicate heart problems and wen on the face, neck and arms. They may indicate disorders of fat or lipid metabolism in the body.

“If fats are digested incorrectly, the concentration of “bad” cholesterol in the blood increases. These are large fat-like substances that stick to the walls of blood vessels and form atherosclerotic plaques. This is how atherosclerosis develops, which leads to strokes and heart attacks. Therefore, if xanthomas appear frequently and there are many of them, it is important to tell the doctor about it, ”the therapist recommended.

An unexplained prolonged cough can also be a warning sign of heart disease. It often accompanies heart failure, in which the blood supply to all organs, including the lungs, is disrupted – they begin to work worse, fluid accumulates in them. Because of this, a person may develop a dry cough without sputum. With a “heart” cough, shortness of breath also appears, the tongue, lips, fingers turn blue, the veins on the neck swell. At the same time, traditional medicines do not bring relief, and the cough intensifies in the supine position.

Previously, the dentist Tumashevich called caries a possible cause of heart damage.

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