Uh Oh Chest Pain From Heart Attack Vs Esophagitis Can Be Very Difficult To Distinguish Says A Gastroenterologist
Esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus, can cause severe chest pain, says Gastroenterologist Larry Good, MD, in practice for 40+ years and with a private practice in Lynbrook, NY, and is affiliated with Concierge Choice Physicians, a leading provider of personalized care in the U.S.
Why can the severe chest pain of esophagitis mimic that of a heart attack?
Dr. Good explains, The esophagus, heart and airways are all served by the vagus nerve which can send signals to the brain from these organs.
This is called six dermatone pain, corresponding to the sensory innervation of the organs in the chest cavity.
Because of this, it can be very difficult to distinguish between pain that derives from the heart, the esophagus and the lungs.
Wow, thats scary. Youd think that nature would have devised a way for the brain to tell the difference, to be able to interpret pain signals unique to the heart, to the esophagus and to the lungs.
Instead, chest pain from esophagitis and the heart can feel the same across the board.
What makes this more frightening is when patients know that theres no reason for them to have a low risk of heart attack.
For instance, the patient doesnt exercise and is overweight or smokes and has diabetes or may be thin but has a junk food diet and never so much as goes on fitness walks.
So when that chest pain strikeswhich may actually be esophagitis in that personthey fear the worst. So what should you do?
‘broken Heart Syndrome’ Mimics Heart Attack
Stress Hormones May Stun Heart After Bad News or Surprises
Researchers say the potentially lethal effects of emotional stress are well known in folk wisdom, as demonstrated by the phrases “scared to death” and “broken heart.” But new evidence shows that broken heart syndrome may be an actual medical condition brought on by a surge of stress-related hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart.
The study suggests that people who have broken heart syndrome may often be misdiagnosed as having had a heart attack when they’ve actually experienced something else called stress cardiomyopathy, which doesn’t cause permanent damage to the heart.
Researchers say some people may react to sudden, extreme emotional stress by releasing large doses of stress hormones and other chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart and stun the muscle, producing symptoms similar to a heart attack, like chest pain, fluid in the lungs, and shortness of breath.
The results of the study appear in the Feb. 10 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the study, researchers evaluated 19 people who were admitted to the hospital after suffering chest pain or symptoms of heart failure after experiencing emotional stress. Eighteen of the 19 patients were women and their average age was 63.
How Does Broken Heart Syndrome Differ From A Heart Attack
Most heart attacks occur due to blockages and blood clots forming in the coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood. If these clots cut off the blood supply to the heart for a long enough time, heart muscle cells will die, leaving the heart with scar tissue and irreversible damage.
People experiencing broken heart syndrome frequently have normal coronary arteries and often do not have severe blockages or clots. The heart cells of people experiencing broken heart syndrome are stunned by the adrenaline and other stress hormones. Fortunately, this gets better very quickly in most cases, often within weeks or just a few days. Most patients dont have scar tissue or damage.
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Why Choose The Hospitals Of Providence For Your Early Heart Attack Care
The Hospitals of Providence has EHAC teams who genuinely care about you and your loved ones. Our hospitals are located across El Paso to provide accessible care to the communities in this city and nearby areas. At the same time, we have received multiple recognitions for the compassionate care and patient-centered cardiovascular services we offer.
Some of the accreditations and recognitions we received in recent years are as follows:
For Sierra Campus
- Chest Pain Reaccreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Care
- ACC HeartCARE Center Designation by the American College of Cardiology
- Grade A rating for patient safety in the Leapfrog Groups Fall 2019 Safety Score
How Does Sudden Stress Lead To Heart Muscle Weakness
When you experience a stressful event, your body produces hormones and proteins such as adrenaline and noradrenaline that are meant to help cope with the stress.
The heart muscle can be overwhelmed by a massive amount of adrenaline that is suddenly produced in response to stress. Excess adrenaline can cause narrowing of the small arteries that supply the heart with blood, causing a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.
Alternatively, the adrenaline may bind to the heart cells directly, causing large amounts of calcium to enter the cells. This large intake of calcium can prevent the heart cells from beating properly. It appears that adrenalines effects on the heart during broken heart syndrome are temporary and completely reversible the heart typically recovers fully within days or weeks.
What should I do if I feel the symptoms of broken heart syndrome?
If you experience heart-attack-like symptoms, call 911 immediately. If your symptoms are mild, please contact your doctor immediately.
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Chest Pain Pressure Squeezing And Fullness
Picture someone having a heart attack, and chances are you imagine them gasping for air and clutching their chest before falling unconscious. While you may experience chest pain during a heart attack, it may not be as dramatic. In some cases, it may not even be described as pain. Instead, it may feel more like pressure or squeezing in the chest.
Chest pain or chest discomfort is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. During a heart attack, you may feel this pain in the center of the chest. It can last for a few minutes and disappear, or it may recur after a short break.
This symptom is a warning sign of blocked or narrowed arteries. Dont hesitate to report this to your doctor, even if this and other symptoms are not intense.
Anxiety And The Development Of Heart Disease
Its my view and my personal clinical experience that anxiety disorders can play a major role in heart disease, says McCann. I believe that a really careful look at anxiety would reveal the ways it can severely impact heart disease, both as a contributing factor and as an obstacle in recovery.
A natural reaction to a sudden heart attack can be similar to post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Youre likely to be shocked by your near-death experience and extremely hesitant to do the things you used to do.
- You might constantly relive the life-threatening event, and avoid the activity or place associated with the heart attack.
- Recurring anxious thoughts may impede your ability to get regular sleep.
- Your thoughts about what lies ahead may be extremely negative and cause a drastically foreshortened outlook of the future.
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Can Dehydration Cause A Heart Attack 5 Surprising Heart Attack Risk Factors
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Most of us would like to live forever .
But the thing is, evolution doesnt seem to have got the memo.
So heres the cold hard truth:
The majority of conditions that cause death in the general population are cardiovascular.
In fact, statistics show that at least 25% of deaths in the United States are caused by heart-related diseases.
Each year, there is an average of 735,000 reported cases of heart attacks in the country, with more than half a million experiencing this event for the first time.
And, while heart attacks are unpredictable in many cases, there are certain triggers that have been linked to these events.
It is well-known HOW a heart attack occurs…
But understanding the details of WHEN and WHY may hold further valuable information for people who know that they might be at a higher risk of experiencing this type of event.
In this post, we explore some surprising triggers that have been linked to heart attacks.
However, it’s far from the only one.
Today, we’ll go over several potential reasons why heart attacks tend to occur at specific times or following certain events or activities.
Lets dive right in!
Heart Attack Symptoms: Women Vs Men
Women may experience classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath as many men do, but they also tend to experience stomach pain, back pain, and other non-classic symptoms.
Because of the subtlety in those symptoms, many women brush off these warning signs and already have heart damage by the time they get to the Emergency Department.
And many women put their families before their own health. But you cant take care of your loved ones if your own health is not where it needs to be.
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Signs Of Heart Attack That You Shouldnt Ignore
About every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US. Most people imagine that having a heart attack is always intense. But the truth is that sometimes you may be unsure if your are suffering from a heart attack because the signs can be subtle and different from what you may typically think of.
This makes heart attacks very dangerous. In fact, 1 in 5 heart attacks goes unnoticed, meaning the heart muscle is damaged due to lack of blood supply but the person is not aware of that this has occurred.
So what are the signs of a heart attack both subtle and not-so-subtle? Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:
Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders fall into several categories. Here are a few of them:
- Panic disorder can be associated with cardiac disease or mistaken for heart attack. Feelings of extreme agitation and terror are often accompanied by dizziness, chest pains, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder a condition that can follow a shocking or frightening incident or sudden, life-threatening event such as a violent crime, major accident, or heart attack. A person suffering from PTSD often has trouble dealing with anything associated with the incident that caused their condition, and experiences feelings of jitteriness and detachment.
- Obsessive-Compulsive disorder People with OCD will manage unreasonable thoughts and worries by performing the same actions over and over. For example, an individual obsessed with perceived cardiovascular symptoms that have been checked and cleared by a physician may compulsively research them or find new ones for hours on end.
Preventing Heart Attacks By Understanding Cardiovascular Risks
Do you know that heart attacks have “beginnings” that can occur days or weeks before an actual attack? It is important to recognize these beginnings, with the help of an EHAC doctor, to help prevent the actual attack and its potential health consequences. People often mistake the early warning signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, for heartburn or pulled a muscle. The unfortunate outcome is that many people wait too long before getting help.
At The Hospitals of Providence, we have an EHAC program delivered by a team of cardiologists, nurses and staff who are dedicated to helping men and women recognize the early warning signs of a heart attack. We provide care and treatment options for these signs and help prevent the emergency from happening.
Panic Attacks Or Angina
Anxiety – specifically panic attacks can mimic heart disease so strongly that many people are hospitalized after their first panic attack because they’re worried that they may be dying. The symptoms can be so similar that until modern testing and understanding they have actually been confused for each other.
Anxiety causes many symptoms that are directly associated with angina, and the two share a host of symptoms that are often described as nearly identical:
- Heart squeezing.
- Rapid heartbeat
These are all exactly the same symptoms that cause so much distress to those with panic attacks, and while the two are not literally identical, they share so many issues in common that it’s no wonder people that experience them worry that they have angina.
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Heart Attacks And Dehydrationwarning
One particular heart condition is rarely discussed and yet it can attributed to thousands of deaths each year in the U.S. alone. Cardiovascular Shock, more commonly known by its primary causeDehydration.
Cardiovascular Shock occurs when the body becomes dehydrated that it plunges into a state of shock. This is the main reason why the vast majority of heart attacks happen late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. While youre resting, your body is working overtime to repair and replenish itself and it uses a lot of fluids to do the job so your body becomes chronically dehydrated during your sleep. Imagine the damage that youre bringing upon yourself by not drinking enough fluids throughout the day to compensate for the late night needs of the body. Its highly recommended that you drink a few large glasses of room temperature water as soon as you rise in the morning so that you address dehydration before you begin your daily routine. Your coffee and the morning work-out can wait until youve addressed your bodys basic needs for survival.
Unfortunately, In a great percentage of dehydration victims the first symptoms are often fatal. The tragedy of this condition is that it could have easily been avoided by simply increasing the intake of healthy water.
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I Am Under A Great Deal Of Stress Every Day Is It Possible That I Have Been Walking Around With Broken Heart Syndrome And Did Not Even Know It
Broken heart syndrome appears to be a condition that comes on suddenly and resolves quickly. If you are a person who frequently has symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath when under significant stress, you should be evaluated by your doctor. If your symptoms are chronic, it is unlikely that you have broken heart syndrome.
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Know The Correlation Between The Two Conditions
According to the American Heart Association), many mental health issues can affect your heart health. When your body is under stress, it produces higher levels of glucose, adrenaline, and cortisol. Repetitive or prolonged distress overworks your adrenal glands, heart, and arteries. Unhealthy coping mechanisms, like smoking cigarettes or eating fatty foods, can contribute to the negative cycle. If left unchecked, an unhealthy mental state becomes another risk factor for heart attack.
Additionally, up to a third of all heart attack survivors experience depression. Anxiety and chest pain can trigger more panic, resulting in a potentially destructive cycle. Healthy mental and physical habits reduce the chances of anxiety and heart attacks.
To learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and what to do when anxiety feels like a heart attack, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute today.
How To Tell The Difference Between A Heart Attack And A Panic Attack
The best way to tell the difference is to simply visit the doctor and have your heart tested. If your heart is in good health, it’s very unlikely you are suffering from a heart attack, especially if you have signs of anxiety. The good news is that there are plenty of easy tests to rule out any serious heart problems.
Beyond that, there are very minute differences in the symptoms. Examples include:
- Chest pain from anxiety tends to be more localized and sharp, while heart attacks radiate and are often duller.
- Panic attacks rarely cause vomiting – a somewhat common symptom of heart attacks, although not in all of those that experience one.
- Panic attacks tend to be more systematic. They generally peak about 10 minutes in and then there is a slow and steady decline. Heart attacks can follow this same pattern, but it’s less common.
Otherwise, the best thing to do is get your heart checked and learn whether or not you’re suffering from any heart problems. If not, then you’re experiencing anxiety attacks.
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Are You Having An Anxiety Attack Or A Heart Attack
People who suffer from panic attacks often say their acute anxiety feels like a heart attack, as many of the symptoms can seem the same. Both conditions can be accompanied by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sweating, a pounding heartbeat, dizziness, and even physical weakness or temporary paralysis.
Perhaps most powerful, though, is the sense of dread that overshadows both events. The fear itself can lead to an increase in these symptoms.
To learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and what to do when anxiety feels like a heart attack, contact UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute today.
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Non
The first time a person has non-cardiac chest pain, he or she usually goes to the emergency room, thinking he or she is having a heart attack. The first thing the emergency room doctor will do is make sure the pain is not a heart attack or due to heart disease.
If it truly is non-cardiac chest pain, the emergency room doctor usually refers the patient to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in digestive system disorders, for more testing and treatment.
Some people who have had several episodes of non-cardiac chest pain go to their primary care physician or a heart doctor instead of the emergency room. The doctor will follow the same steps to make sure the pain is not heart-related, then refer the person to a gastroenterologist.
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