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Heart Health

06 May 2009

Heartburn or heart attack?

It begins as a sharp, burning sensation in the chest, near the breastbone or ribs. But is the pain heartburn, or a heart attack?

It begins as a sharp, burning sensation in the chest, near the breastbone or ribs. But is the pain heartburn, or a heart attack?

Dr Ronnie Fass, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, agreed. If you have any heart history, he said, a cardiologist should be consulted. But even people without known heart disease who have heartburn shouldn't always just pop an over-the-counter antacid either, the doctors said. Overreacting in seeking medical help, they said, is always better than under reacting.

What to do

What to look out for
Other reasons to talk to a doctor or go to the emergency room?

  • If heartburn accompanies exercise or other exertion. "That is a huge red flag," Dave said.
  • If a severe episode of heartburn does not get better despite such remedies as antacids.
  • If heartburn comes with other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or arm pain.


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