Archive for August 22nd, 2006

Hyperacidity or Heart Attack?

August 22, 2006

imagesasdfgh.jpgAlmost always when a patient presents in the ER with massive heart attack, a history of heartburn symptoms were noted days or months prior to the ER visit.  The patient has been complaining of on and off ” heartburn” apparently due to bad food or missed meal symptoms of hyperacidity.  Neglected for days, the patient then presents himself in the ER in an emergency situation.

Practical Tips to know whether you have plain hyperacidity or a serious heart attack:

1. Heartburn tends to occur after meals when you have the most acid being produced, while most chest pains from heart attack occur during times of heavy exertion like exercising, running or doing strenuous activities that require the heart to beat fast.

2. Hyperacidity is burning like sensation in the chest relieved by plain antacid or H2 blocker medications like Ranitidine ( Zantac).  Chest Pain from a heart ailment is more like pressure sensation, squeezing or deep pressure sensation that is often associated with shortness of breath. However if ones burning like sensation is persistent or not relieved by antacid and associated with dizziness, shortness of breath or discomfort… seek medical help immediately as this may mean a more serious heart ailment.

3. If the pain starts to go somewhere else, radiating to the back or down to the left side of the arm… this may signal a heart attack.

4. If you have chest pain of any type and you have risk factors for heart disease especially, Diabetes, or a family history of sudden death in the family, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a smoker… then have yourself evaluated for heart disease.

My Recommendation:

A simple exercise treadmill stress testing can help determine if your chest pain is due to heart disease or some other ailment. A cardiologist can do this anytime and the results are out within the same outpatient visit.

Don’t Take Your Chest Pain For Granted… Better Early Than Late!