Chest pain — it’s something that is always alarming because of the fact that it is in your chest where the heart is. Needless to say, chest pain should not be taken lightly. However, it’s not all the time that having pain in the chest is a sign that you’re suffering from a heart attack. Sometimes it’s just actually heartburn.
Before we discuss some of the differences between a heartburn and heart attack, it’s important for you to seek medical attention right away if there’s pain or discomfort in your chest, most especially if is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, perspiration and pain radiating to one arm or both.
Now that’s out of the way, let us tackle how you can differentiate a heartburn and heart attack apart.
If one thing’s for sure, it’s a heartburn and heart attack can both cause pain in the chest. However, there are a few things that make chest pain caused by heartburn and heart-related chest pain different from each other:
Needless to say, chest pain due to heartburn feels like your chest is on fire. When you lie down or bend over, you can expect the pain to intensify — lying down or bending over causes food and acids in the stomach to flow back much further into your esophagus.
On the other hand, chest pain that is due to a heart attack is oftentimes described as stabbing or crushing. Sometimes it is described as having a tight band around the chest, or an elephant sitting on it. Usually, heart-related chest pain is relieved by rest or when the physical activity stops.
Speaking of physical activity, what you do prior to the chest pain can reveal whether what you are having is a case of heartburn or heart attack. If you:
Feel chest pain after having a heavy meal or consuming foods that are greasy and spicy, there’s a huge possibility that it’s heartburn. To confirm, take an OTC antacid. If the pain in the chest subsides, it’s a bout of heartburn.
Experience chest pain after a physical activity, it’s possible that it is has something to do with your heart. Physical activity, especially an intense one, causes the heart muscles to require more oxygen, something that it cannot get. Taking a rest usually makes the chest pain go away.
However, do take note that chest pain that’s heartburn-induced may also strike during physical activity because of the impact it has on the stomach and its contents, like food and acids.
You may also be able to determine whether it’s a heartburn or heart attack by observing where exactly in the chest the pain is felt and whether it radiates to other areas of the body. Take a look at this:
Heartburn-related chest pain occurs behind the breastbone. Usually, the burning sensation extends to the neck and sometimes the jaw. In rare instances, the pain may also be felt in the shoulders and arms. Experts add that you can point exactly where the chest pain seems to be coming from.
Chest pain that is coming from the heart is felt in the center of the chest, spreading outwards. There are instances wherein the pain is situated on only one side of the chest. Usually, someone who is experiencing it may not be able to tell where exactly in the chest it’s coming from. The pain felt may also radiate to the shoulders and one arm or both.
Aside from the pain in the chest, some other symptoms may be used to determine whether the problem is caused by a bout of heart burn or heart attack. For instance:
Heartburn does not usually come with dizziness, nausea and sweating, although it may happen. You may feel like gas or food is coming back to the mouth. Sometimes there is an acidic or metallic taste in the mouth, too.
Chest pain due to a heart attack usually comes with weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweat. Shortness of breath is also a very common symptom. Similarly, there is a feeling of impending doom.
As always, it’s much better to err on the safe side. When you are having pain in the chest and you are not sure if it’s a heartburn or heart attack, immediately seek medical assistance.
Never ignore the common signs of A Heart Attack in Women
Every person knows the common signs of Heart attack is chest pain. It’s not like how it is shown in movies where a man is shown gasping for breath, clutches his chest and falls on the ground. When it comes to real life, the symptoms of heart attack are more than just pain in the chest. Yes, chest pain is a symptom of heart attack, but there are other subtle signs of cardiovascular problems, which are important to know. As per studies, women do mostly feel chest pain when they suffer from a cardinal problem, there are few other signs you should be cautious about. If these signs are overlooked then it can even turn fatal.
The common signs of a heart attack one should not ignore in women
- Do you feel uncomfortable pressure in your chest?
One of the most common signs of a Heart attack in women. If you are feeling pressure and tightness around your chest, then ask for help. Pain can happen anywhere in the chest, it is not necessary to be the middle of the heart. Do not brush off the situation just because the pain is on the left side.
- Breathing Difficulty
Uneasiness and difficulty in breathing is another sign of heart attack in Women. If you are not able to catch your breath and move around even a little bit, then it is an indicator that something is not right with your heart.
Sweating on a sunny day or due to intense workout is normal, but if it is random then you should immediately call someone for help. Profuse and sudden sweating can be a sign of a cardiovascular problem. This sign is easily confused with night sweats or hot flashes, which is common with age Overlooking this can be dangerous for you.
- pain experienced in both the arms
It is not necessary that pain be experienced only in the chest or in the middle of the heart. At times it can even be on the left or right arm, or even in the upper abdomen. It is important to note that any type of pain above the waist could be due to a heart problem. The pain could be irregular or intense
- The most common sign Dizziness
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in women. These signs of a heart attack are mostly confused with food poisioned or gastrointestinal issues. But if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting along with pain in the upper part of the body, then it is time immediately rush to the hospital.
One feels very exhausted, but just like other signs of heart attack, if you feel excessively tired than usual then you get yourself checked. You would actually feel overwhelmed and would not be able to perform any other activity. This sign is often mistaken for anxiety. If you suddenly feel fatigued and uneasy then speak to your practitioner.
Cutting screen time may reverse sleep problems in teens
Limiting exposure to blue-light emitting devices such as phones and laptops in the evening for just a week can help teenagers improve their sleep quality and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood, a study has found.
Recent studies have indicated that exposure to too much evening light, particularly the blue light emitted from screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can affect the brain’s clock and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep time and quality.
The lack of sleep does not just cause immediate symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but can also increase the risk of more serious long-term health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Other studies have suggested that sleep deprivation related to screen time may affect children and adolescents more than adults, but no studies have fully investigated how real-life exposure is affecting sleep in adolescents at home and whether it can be reversed.
Researchers from Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience, the Amsterdam UMC and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, investigated the effects of blue light exposure on adolescents at home.
Those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 minutes later sleep onset and wake up times than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, as well as more symptoms of sleep loss.
The team conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern of 25 frequent users.
Both blocking blue light with glasses and screen abstinence resulted in sleep onset and wake up times occurring 20 minutes earlier, and a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss in participants, after just one week.
“Adolescents increasingly spend more time on devices with screens and sleep complaints are frequent in this age group,” said Dirk Jan Stenvers from the Amsterdam UMC.
“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light,” Stenvers said.
“Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” he said.
Common chemicals can increase risk of metabolic disorders
Do you know that your everyday exposure to everyday harmful chemicals can land you into serious trouble?
A recent study has found that people exposed to chemicals called Phthalates, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders. The study was discussed in the meeting, ‘ECE 2019’. Researchers found a correlation between levels of phthalate exposure and markers of impaired liver function, which are indicators of increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
These findings suggest that more actions may need to be taken to reduce people’s exposure to these potentially harmful, yet commonly used chemicals. Phthalates are common additives used in manufacturing to produce plastics and they can be found in numerous everyday items including milk, bottled water, instant coffee, perfume, makeup, shampoo, toys and food packaging.
Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has previously been implicated in causing serious harm to fertility and development, as well as increased obesity risk in rodents and people.
However, no studies have directly investigated how Phthalate exposure is associated with obesity and metabolism. In this study, Professor Milica Medi Stojanoska, one of the researchers correlated the levels of Phthalate absorbed by people with their body weight, type 2 diabetes incidence and markers of impaired liver and metabolic function.
Higher exposure to the chemical was associated with increased markers of liver damage, insulin resistance and cholesterol in people with obesity and diabetes.
Prof Stojanoska says, “Although a small association study, these findings suggest that not only do phthalates alter metabolism to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes but that they are also causing toxic damage to the liver.”
Prof Stojanoska’s research is now looking at the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on human health in adults, adolescents and babies.
“We need to inform people about the potential adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on their health and look at ways to minimise our contact with these harmful chemicals,” adds the professor.