Q:

How do you distinguish between standard burping and a heart attack?

A:

Quick Answer

The pain associated with a heart attack differs from the pain caused by burping in terms of duration and intensity. However, the proximity of the esophagus to the heart can cause these pains to mimic each other, according to the American Heart Association.

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Full Answer

A heart attack causes a burning or crushing sensation in the chest that is accompanied by extreme sweating, dizziness and shortness of breath, according to WebMD. Other symptoms of a heart attack include radiating pain to the jaws, neck and arms. The discomfort of a heart attack may fade and return with increasing intensity or frequency. One of the most distinguishing features of normal burping is that the pain is of a lower intensity than that of a heart attack, and it does not lead to dizziness or shortness of breath.

In rare cases, normal burping may be accompanied by acid reflux, according to the American Heart Association. This condition causes the pain of burping to increase in intensity and in some cases, spread to the jaw, neck and throat, according to WebMD. However, this pain may disappear completely after taking an antacid, as the American Heart Association explains. By contrast, the pain of a heart attack does not respond to medication, and it may require emergency care and hospitalization.

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