3 Less Common Symptoms, The Difference For Acid Reflux And Heart Attack

Many patients with GERD do not experience heartburn or regurgitation. Instead symptoms may appear in other locations.

1. Chest Sensations Or Pain

Patients may have the sensation that food is trapped behind the breastbone. Chest pain is a common symptom of GERD. It is very important to differentiate it from chest pain caused by heart conditions, such as angina and heart attack.

Acid Reflux Or Heart Attack? The Difference

This is both a simple and complicated question. The only way to know for sure if you're having a heart attack is to have an EKG (electrocardiogram). Barring that, though, there are some things that are more likely to point towards Acid Reflux :

3 Less Common Symptoms, The Difference For Acid Reflux And Heart Attack

- If you're under 40, you're extremely unlikely to have heart attack.
Unless others in your family had heart attacks at young age.

- Does the pain get worse when you lie down or after a large meal?
If so, it's more likely to be heart burn.

- Do antacids relieve the pain? If so, it's more likely to be heart burn.

- Do certain foods (tomato sauce, citrus, or other acidic items) trigger the pain?
If so, it's more likely to be heart burn. The pain remain in the same place.

- Does the pain remain in the same place (right in the middle of your chest) without radiating down your arm or up into your neck? If so, it's more likely to be heart burn.

Pain That Is More Typical Of Heart Trouble Includes

  • Feeling as if an elephant is sitting on your chest, with pain that radiates down left arm (not the right arm) or up into neck.
  • Pain that does not improve with posture or antacids.
  • Chest pain in a person at higher risk for heart attacks. Risks include: being male, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, older age (>65), known heart disease, being out of shape.

Symptoms in the Throat. Less commonly, GERD may produce symptoms that occur in the throat :

  • Acid Laryngitis
    Hoarseness, dry cough, the sensation of having a lump in the throat, and the need to repeatedly clear the throat.
  • Trouble Swallowing (Dysphagia)
    In severe cases, patients may even choke or food may become trapped in the esophagus, causing severe chest pain. This may indicate a temporary spasm that narrows the tube, or it could also be an indication of serious esophageal damage or abnormalities.
  • Chronic Sore Throat
  • Persistent Hiccups

2. Coughing And Respiratory Symptoms

Asthmatic symptoms like coughing and wheezing may occur. In fact, in one study, GERD alone accounted for 41.1% of cases of chronic cough in nonsmoking patients. The incidence was even higher when GERD and asthma were combined.

3. Chronic Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea that persists for weeks or even months and is not attributable to a common cause of stomach upset may be a symptom of acid reflux. In rare cases, vomiting can occur as often as once a day. All other causes of chronic nausea and vomiting should be ruled out, including ulcers, stomach cancer, obstruction, and pancreas or gallbladder disorders.