What is the Difference between Heartburn and Heart Attack?

Heartburn vs Heart attack


Heartburn and heart attack are two conditions that can cause chest discomfort, but they are fundamentally different in nature and require distinct approaches to diagnosis and treatment. It’s crucial to understand the differences between the two to recognize when medical attention is needed. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and key distinctions between heartburn and heart attack to help you differentiate between the two.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.

Causes of Heartburn

  • Certain foods and beverages like spicy, fatty, acidic foods and caffeinated beverages.
  • Having large meals
  • Lying down immediately after eating
  • Smoking
  • It may also occur due to pregnancy, obesity, or hiatal hernia and certain medications

Heartburn is often triggered by

Symptoms of Heartburn

Common symptoms of heartburn may include

  • Burning sensation in the chest, throat, or upper abdomen
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Regurgitation (acid refluxing up into your mouth)
  • Feeling of fullness or bloating in the upper abdomen
  • Difficulty swallowing

Duration of Heart Burn

Heartburn may typically last for a short duration, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours after eating.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, leading to tissue damage.

Causes of Heart Attack

Risk factors for heart attacks may include

  • Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart attack by damaging blood vessels
  • The risk of heart attack may increase with age.
  •  Having a close family member (parent, sibling) with a history of heart disease at a young age increases your risk.
  • High blood pressure puts strain on the heart and arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack. 
  • High levels of bad cholesterol may lead to plaque buildup in arteries.
  • High blood sugar levels may contribute to plaque buildup in arteries.
  • Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of heart attack.

Symptoms of Heart Attack

Chest pain or pressure, is often described as a squeezing, tightness, or heaviness in the center or left side of the chest.

  • Pain radiating to the shoulder, arm, jaw, back, or neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cold sweat
  • Feeling of extreme anxiety or sudden weakness

Severity of Heart Attack

A heart attack is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. Delayed treatment can lead to serious complications or death. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here’s when to call emergency services:

  • You are experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack, especially chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness.
  • Your chest pain is severe and doesn’t improve with rest or over-the-counter medication.
  • You have a history of heart disease or other risk factors for heart attack.

Things to Remember

When in doubt, always seek immediate medical attention with the best cardiologists in India for chest pain. However, for non-emergency concerns or questions about heartburn, online consultation with doctor can be a convenient option.

Heartburn vs Heart Attack

AspectHeart BurnHeart Attack
CauseStomach acid backing up into the esophagusBlockage in coronary arteries 
Pain TypeBurning sensationPressure, tightness, squeezing
Location of PainTypically felt in the chest or upper abdomen, often behind the breastbone.Pain in the center or left side of the chest.
Associated SymptomsSour taste, burping (regurgitation), bloating, difficulty swallowingShortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, dizziness, anxiety, weakness
Radiation of PainPain may radiate to the throat or neck.Pain may radiate to the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
OnsetOften after eatingSudden and severe
DurationMinutes to hoursCan last for minutes or hours
Response to treatmentOver-the-counter medications, lifestyle changesEmergency medical attention
Heartburn vs Heart attack

How to Prevent Heartburn and Heart Attack?

Here are some tips for preventing both heartburn and heart attack:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is a risk factor for both heartburn and heart disease.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Limit your intake of processed foods, fatty foods, and spicy foods. Choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity may help improve heart health and reduce the risk of heartburn.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress may worsen both heartburn and heart disease.
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.
  • See your doctor for regular checkups: This is important for monitoring your heart health and identifying any potential problems early on.

Watch now


Understanding the differences between heartburn and heart attack is crucial for timely diagnosis and appropriate management. While heartburn is usually a benign condition caused by acid reflux, a heart attack is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. If you experience chest discomfort or other symptoms suggestive of a heart attack, seek medical help promptly. By being aware of the distinctions between these two conditions, you can better protect your heart health and well-being.

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Medical Advice: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding your specific medical condition.

Accuracy of Information: While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the field of medicine and viral fevers is constantly evolving. The content in this blog post may not reflect the most current research or medical guidelines. Therefore, it is advisable to cross-check any information provided with reliable sources or consult a healthcare professional.

Individual Variations: The symptoms, causes, treatment options, and preventive measures discussed in this blog post are general in nature and may not apply to everyone. It is important to remember that each individual’s situation is unique, and personalized medical advice should be sought when making healthcare decisions.

External Links: This blog post may contain links to external websites or resources for additional information. However, we do not endorse or have control over the content of these third-party websites. Accessing these links is done at your own risk, and we are not responsible for any consequences or damages that may arise from visiting these external sources.

Results May Vary: The effectiveness of treatment options or preventive measures mentioned in this blog post may vary from person to person. What works for one individual may not work the same way for another. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

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