Knowing the difference between angina and heartburn

Most people know that they need emergency care if they’re having a heart attack, but identifying the symptoms of a heart attack can be complicated. There are many medical issues that cause chest pain , including non-life-threatening problems like heartburn or acid reflux. Since only a doctor can determine if a patient needs life-saving medical intervention, the emergency care specialists at MountainView Hospital urge our neighbors in Las Vegas to get help right away if they experience chest pain. You can hear one of our talented doctors discuss this topic when you watch the accompanying video.

Overview of heartburn and angina
The stomach lining is tough enough to handle the strong stomach acid that breaks down food. Unfortunately, these acids don’t always stay put. If they backflow up to the esophagus, they can cause the painful symptoms that are characteristic of heartburn.

Many people experience occasional heartburn. If heartburn occurs frequently, it’s advisable to speak with a doctor, as stomach acid can damage the esophagus.

Angina isn’t actually a disease or medical condition—it’s a symptom. Angina refers to chest pain that develops when the heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood. Usually, angina is caused by coronary heart disease (CHD).

It’s important to diagnose and treat angina promptly. Patients with angina have a higher risk of a heart attack .

Common symptoms of heartburn
Heartburn symptoms develop after eating. They can include:

  • A burning sensation in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Persistent sore throat or hoarse voice
  • Chronic cough

Diagnosis of angina
The chest pain of heart disease often feels like squeezing or pressure, and it isn’t always severe. In the ER, doctors can quickly test the heart’s activity to determine whether the chest pain is an angina attack or a heart attack. If it’s a heart attack, some of the following symptoms are likely to accompany the chest pain.

  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden dizziness

As a widely renowned heart hospital, MountainView Hospital is an employer of choice for top cardiologists who have made it their life’s work to save patients’ lives. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency, such as a possible heart attack, please call 911 right now. Otherwise, families in Las Vegas can reach our hospital at (702) 962-5021.

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