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!

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20 Responses to “Hyperacidity or Heart Attack?”

  1. Rizza Barzo Says:

    very nice tip for chest pain and heart attack. it could help me aware of the symptoms and take some precautionary measures when the need arises. i suffer chest pain and heartburn from time to time and because i have high cholesterol level and have hyperacidity, i could not determine if the symptoms are really from what source . so, with this simple tip, i can say that it helps me understand ….

    thank you…


  2. […] 1.) Dr. Gerry Tan shares how you know : -whether its Hyperacidity or Heart Attack? – How To Prevent Bad Breath – Facts and Tips on High Protein Diet – High Fiber Diet: Any Benefits? […]

  3. Elmo Says:

    “Hyperacidity or Heart Attack?”
    You seem like a very good doctor. I want to thank you so much! What you wrote is exactly what I feel.
    You are a great doctor. Keep up the good work. Thank you again!

  4. pauline Says:

    This article answered my question some what. What I needed to know is, can hyperacidty travel to the brain, giving a burning sensation like it gives in the stomach?

  5. Doc Gerry Says:

    Hi Pauline… Thats a concomitant burning sensation most likely from a tooth problem. Better have your teeth and gums checked!

  6. Abesha Says:

    Hi, thank you for the info. But I couldn’t be sure of my case. My heart beats relatively fast almost all the time. I’ve checked my hear a couple of times and they told me it’s ok and that it’s just a stomach problem. I took acid inhibitor pills but then some time after I finish the pills, the feeling continues. Can it be that the docs are wrong or do I have a bad eating/drinking habit?

    Thanks a lot!

  7. Doc Gerry Says:

    you seem to have some sort of an anxiety… palpitation, hyperacidity and feeling of shortness of breath. If so… you need a change of lifestyle, environment or know how to relax. If youve been seen by cardiologist and just cant seem to find any reason for your symptoms, then most liekly you have anxiety problem due to stress.

  8. Irene Says:

    Doc Gerry,
    my husband suffers a lot coz of hyperacidy as we diagnosed it by ourselves we’ve been consulting doctors yet they cant find any symptoms that something s wrong with him, but everytime he gets his blood checked of his bp s taken his bpressure raises. been complaining abt acid n his mouth… can u help please

  9. Doc Gerry Says:

    Irene, there is a possibility that your husband is suffering form hyperventilation syndrome which can manifest with palpitation, hyperacidity, shortness of breath and chest heaviness. These symptoms occur of he is under stress or angry or under anxiety attack. He may react by having his BP raised when he goes to a doctor becuase of anxiety. When you go to a gastroenterologist, and an endoscopy is done, he may not find anything wrong. Try to seek an opinion with your family doctor and ask for meds for hyperventilation syndrome.

  10. Irene Says:

    Doc Gerry,

    This Rene, husband of Irene. Thanks for your expert opinion. I have given a xanor prescription by my gastro, and yet it still happening. though my anxiety is lower, but still i felt some nervousness. last week, I eat bread before jogging that lead my heartburn all day. i mistakenly eaten a fatty a day ago, it did turn on again my heartburn. Now, it seems it back again and again everyday. My last check up last 2 weeks ago–my doctor says nothing life-threatening. My last doctor before that diagnose me with chronic gastritis with nervousness. Told me that it is stress related and lifestyle. This last doctor, found nothing and stops me from taking PPI–so I obliged. and he instead give me Xanor which i take half tablet taken only at night. When I feel hungry, my anxiety kicks in, leading to low appetite so I only eat veggies and fish and this I am doing for every hour. I tried to stay on diet on veggies and fish and rice afraid to go overweight.

    So right now, I feel i am on the dead end. I feel depressed. I am no longer stressed by my job– I love my job and happy doing it. I only work 5 hours a day–a high paying one (I actually a IT consultant and programmer).

    Thanks again for your expert opinion. I will be going back to my gastroenterologist, again next week to consult again my reaction to Xanor. And I will ask him again what to do when my anxiety attack again. I want my quality of life back.

    So your say

  11. Cristine Says:

    Hi. I have been diagnosed with gastritis and hiatal hernia and have been taking pantoprazole and motillum. I’m also taking metoprolol for my tachycardia and arrythmias. Lately, i’ve been having bad palpitations and skip beats that sometimes i wake up at night due to this plus shortness of breath. I’ve been dizzy and nauseated most of the times and have attributed this to my GI problem. Is there something else that might be wrong with me? My BP is fine and my cholesterol is low so i don’t have any problem with that. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Doc Gerry Says:

      Cristine…difficult to tell without an actual PE. Be sure to see a cardiologist to get to the bottom of your problem. Thanks for visiting the site.

  12. Andy Says:

    Hi, I am suffering from hearburn since last one month. I have done stress test but it was negative. I am also suffering from hand pain. I got xray of cervical. It shows loss of normal cervical lordosis. Is my hand pain due to loss of normal cervical lordosis. I am taking PAN 40


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