When to Worry About Heartburn

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Having a burning sensation in your chest can be scary, even if you’re pretty sure it’s just heartburn caused by acid reflux. How can you be sure the pain in your chest isn’t something more serious?

Is it heartburn or your heart?

Despite its name, heartburn doesn’t actually have anything to do with your heart. The burning sensation known as heartburn is caused by stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus. To determine if you’re experiencing heartburn or cardiac problems, consider what other symptoms you’re having.

Are you sweaty? Do you have palpitations? Are you short of breath? If you’re experiencing these symptoms with your chest pain, visit a doctor to rule out cardiac issues. On the other hand, if your chest pain seems to occur after you eat or when you bend over without any palpitations or shortness of breath, you’re probably suffering from acid reflux.

When is heartburn serious?

Acid reflux should never be considered normal, but you may find that an over-the-counter antacid can take care of occasional symptoms. However, heartburn that occurs regularly can cause serious health complications if left untreated. Remember that heartburn is the result of stomach acid flowing into the esophagus, and continued exposure to stomach acid can damage your esophagus.

If you have heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. If these symptoms persist for 6 months or more, you should contact your doctor to investigate treatment options and rule out any other underlying causes.

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