September 29, 2010

What is the Difference Between Heartburn and Angina?

Heartburn and angina are quite different conditions; however they do have a few similarities and differences worth covering.

Heartburn sounds like a just mild case of acid indigestion to most people. Unfortunately, as with any health issue, if left to fester it can lead to many deeper, more underlying health problems.

It?s very unlikely that you would ever intentionally ignore your heart burn, or anything to do with your own well being. However, millions of people are unknowingly victimized by Over-The-Counter (OTC) and prescription gimmicks, which not only may trigger toxic side effects, they also trick people into putting off curing the root cause.

The only thing I can think of that?s worse than ignoring your health issues would be to mistreat a health issue. It?s not uncommon for people to think their heartburn, acid reflux or stomach acid problems as angina attacks or even misdiagnose an angina attack for a heartburn attack.

The reason being is that left unaddressed a chronic heartburn issue will become a more complex health problem. It?s not just that heartburn is out to get you and gets worse on its own, it?s the fact that diet and lifestyle factors are behind the whole problem in the first place . . . whether it?s angina or acid reflux.

Before I cover that, you need to understand clearly what an angina attack actually is.

What is Angina Exactly?

By definition Angina is an intense pain in your chest due to a ?lack of oxygen? rich blood (ischemia) getting to your heart cells. Angina pain is so excruciating that it feels like it would extinguish life itself, if it were to continue.

The pain of an Angina attack is described further as a severe crushing pain coming directly from behind your breastbone leading to a sensation of suffocation and panic. In fact the word ?angina? originates from the Latin word ?angere,? which means ?to choke.?

Curiously, like heartburn an angina attack with often occur after eating. It?s not uncommon for people to have an angina event during a strenuous walk up a staircase, or incline, immediately after a large meal.

There are two main categories is Angina attacks:

1. Angina of effort

2. Variant angina

Angina may feel like a heart attack but it isn?t. If you have Angina of effort, which means the lack of oxygen rich blood is from narrowing arteries (arthrosclerosis). On the other hand a Variant angina attack is more uncommon and happens from a spasm in the coronary muscle.

Other things that can cause the same chest pain as angina and heartburn include stomach ulcers, panic attacks, muscle problems, pneumonia, inflammation and heart attacks.

Heartburn can be caused from eating too much food, from eating the wrong food combination, lying down after eating, a lack of stomach acid or even a hiatal hernia.

Angina can feel like heart burn when the pressure makes it hard to breathe and swallow, especially after eating a large meal, there may be a feeling of regurgitation, similar to acid reflux. But heartburn shouldn?t make you feel nausea, fatigued, sweaty, light headed and weak.

It?s important to learn how to self diagnose . . . your doctor should really be your second opinion. Unfortunately if you don?t seek out the root cause of your angina or heartburn, prescribing drugs or surgery are not going to cure you.

The choice to cover up symptoms instead of eliminating the real cause can make the difference between living a long healthy life and living a miserable one plagued by recurring symptoms and the adverse effects of drug therapies.

Learn more about integrative and Complementary Alternative Medicines (CAM). Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind neither angina nor heartburn are drug deficiencies.

You were born to heal,

Todd M. Faass?

Health Ecologist

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