Chest pain always makes someone think they're having a heart attack which is a life or death situation. However, not all chest pain is related to the heart. Sometimes it is merely the result of heartburn which isn't usually a dangerous health issue. If you've experienced a lot of heartburn, then you need to be careful that you don't just pass off the pain as still another bout with it. If you've never had it before, you need to understand what's happening in order to avoid panic. In the crucial minutes after chest pain starts, you need to be able to recognize what's really taking place in order to respond correctly.

As mentioned earlier, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. The term was apparently coined in reference to the area of the body where the pain is located. It's actually caused by excess stomach acid being forced back up into the esophagus where it damages sensitive tissues and causes pain. There are a number of different reasons why people suffer from heartburn, and most of them are in relation to something they have eaten, drank, or smoked. Lying down too soon after eating can also be a culprit. Heartburn usually occurs shortly after you've eaten which can help you to distinguish it from a heart attack.

Knowing the symptoms of each condition will make it easier to decide which malady you are suffering from. Heartburn most often manifests itself as a burning sensation located directly behind the breastbone. Heart attacks, on the other hand, often causes pain that radiates into the neck, shoulders, arms, jaw, or back and can present a squeezing feeling in the chest. You need to know, though, that heartburn can sometimes cause some of these other symptoms, so if in doubt, see your doctor.

Patients who experience chronic bouts of heartburn may also notice a cough and sore throat, swallowing problems, and hoarseness which are not symptoms of a heart attack. It is usually easy to stop heartburn quickly, however, by taking antacid tablets which will definitely not cure a heart attack. Additional heart attack symptoms that can help you differentiate between the two conditions include cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, and fainting.

Minutes count when you're having a heart attack, so it's important that you not wait too long when you develop these symptoms. If antacids don't clear up the problem in short order, you need to get to the emergency room as soon as possible.

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Want more information on how to stop heartburn? Get more information, tips and resources here: How to get rid of heartburn fast.