Is It a Heart Attack or Is It Just Indigestion?

Indigestion after meals is a common occurrence. It is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, belching, bloating and pain or discomfort in the upper side of the abdomen. Indigestion is not the same as heartburn. In case of heartburn, there is an acid reflux that causes the burning sensation in the oesophagus. In case of indigestion the discomfort is felt in the stomach during or after the meals.

What Causes Indigestion?

Indigestion is also known as Dyspepsia. There are various factors which may trigger symptoms of indigestion. Some of them are – overeating, eating in a hurry, eating spicy or oily food, emotional stress, excessive intake of caffeine through tea and coffee, smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. Ulcers in the stomach or the intestines, gallstones, pancreatitis or antibiotics may also cause discomfort.

Know the Symptoms of Indigestion:

  • Burning sensation in the stomach or oesophagus
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Feeling uneasy
  • Pain or fullness in your chest
  • Feeling of fullness in the stomach

Know the Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  • Discomfort in the chest
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in other parts of the body like chest, shoulders, arms, jaw, neck or abdomen
  • Swelling in the body
  • Sudden sweating
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath

Indigestion Can Mimic Heart Attack!

Heart attack symptoms are generally mistaken for indigestion. Rush for medical help if your symptoms of belly discomfort are accompanied by pain in chest, jaws or back, feeling anxiety or feeling of doom, excessive sweating. Feelings of nausea and uneasiness in breathing followed by extreme weakness are warning signals of a heart attack. Irregular heart beat, or shortness of  breath or profuse sweating also indicate a heart attack may happen. Do not mistake these signs for indigestion. Get medical help as early as possible.

Does Indigestion Trouble You? 

Try these home remedies for relief!

  • Drink a glass of lukewarm water slowly after each meal.
  • Add 1 tsp each of honey and apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Drink it half an hour before mealtime.
  • Add 1 tsp of baking soda and lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Drink it after meals.
  • Drinking herbal tea like chamomile tea or mint tea also relieves indigestion.
  • Roast some seeds of coriander, add them to half a glass of buttermilk. Consume it daily.
  • Drink a glass of water mixed with 2 tsp of ginger juice, 1 tsp of lemon juice and black salt.

In addition to this, while eating chew your food slowly, avoid eating when in anger or worry, and eat three hours before bedtime to prevent indigestion.

In addition to these remedies, pay attention to these factors:

  • Avoid food items that cause irritation in your tummy:  stay away from spicy and oily food stuff, carbonated beverages, decaffeinated items tea, coffee, chocolates and alcohol. You may also avoid peppermint, spearmint and citrus fruits like grapes, oranges etc. that may trigger the acid reflux.
  • Eat 5-7 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals.
  • If overweight, follow a proper exercise and diet plan to lose weight.
  • Minimize medicines that irritate your tummy: Ask your doctor to cut down the dosage of your medicines or change the medicines that cause an irritation in your tummy.
  • De-stress: Learn to manage your daily stress. Listen to soothing music, practise deep breathing exercises or Pranayama, take regular massages, go for walks, play with your pets etc.

When is Indigestion Bothersome?

If your indigestion leads to any of these conditions you need medical attention. Sudden weight loss, severe bouts of pain in the abdomen, discomfort in swallowing and presence of blood in vomiting or stool call for help.

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