How to tell the difference between heart attack and heartburn

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How to tell the difference between heart attack and heartburn
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Heart disease is the number one killer in America. It claims 614,348 lives a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Too often a heart attack is confused with the symptoms of heart burn. Do you know the difference?

Read more: Doing this 4 times a week drastically reduces heart disease

Is it heart attack or heart burn?

Clark tells the story of sitting at the dinner table with his family about five years ago. Suddenly, he started feeling chest pain. So he told his wife and then called his doctor and talked to him about it. The doc asked Clark a number of questions and determined that even though he was having chest pain, the other symptoms were not consistent with a heart attack.

It turned out Clark was having a mini-asthma attack. His asthma had been irritated earlier in the day when he was in an area where there was a ground fire. So upon his doc’s advice, he simply used his Albuterol and he was fine.

The thing is, he immediately addressed the problem. That’s the key. Nine times out of 10, it’s a false alarm. But that one in 10, you’re dead.

What you need to know about heart attack

  • You’ll experience discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • You’ll notice pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort is common.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness has been reported.
  • As soon as symptoms start, chew a full-strength uncoated aspirin and take with water. This will help prevent blood clotting and accompanying damage.

What you need to know about heartburn

  • ‘Heartburn’ is something of a misnomer. It’s caused by stomach acid rising up into your esophagus and has nothing to do with your heart.
  • If you belch and the symptoms go away, the discomfort you feel is likely related to your esophagus — not your heart.
  • Heartburn can cause chest pain that radiates to your neck, throat, or jaw.

If you even think you’re having a heart attack, you need to take immediate action, just like Clark did.

‘Don’t ‘tough out’ heart attack symptoms for more than five minutes. Call 911 or other emergency medical services for help,’ the Mayo Clinic writes on its website.

Too often, guys have this male pride thing where they’re foolish about their health. Clark’s episode was a false alarm, but what if it hadn’t been? If he sat quietly and didn’t say anything, it could have been curtains.

When something’s not right, don’t quietly keep it your own secret. Besides, when’s the last time you were at the doctor anyway??

Take care of yourself, guys. If you’re not doing it, call upon the lady in your life to motivate you to do so. Women, push your guys to go to the doctor to take care of themselves. Never keep things a secret, because you want to be alive to wake up the next day!

Read more: Advil, Aleve, Motrin, more can cause heart attack or stroke: FDA

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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