Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed how to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack on Friday's episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Oz said many people mistake their heartburn for a heart attack, and revealed the symptoms of both so you can save yourself an unnecessary trip to the emergency room.
Heartburn, or acid indigestion or reflux, is a burning sensation in the chest, according to the Mayo Clinic. It happens when you eat certain foods (usually spicy foods) and stomach acid moves up your esophagus and into your throat. Symptoms of heartburn include difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and coughing.
Heartburn pain feels like you're swallowing acid, and the pain usually worsens when you bend over or lie down. Dr. Oz said the most common causes of heartburn (also known as acid indigestion or reflux) is being overweight, eating acidic or spicy foods and wearing tight shape wear such as girdles.
The best way to prevent heartburn or acid reflux is to let your food digest before lying down, losing weight if you're heavy and not smoking, said Dr. Oz.
A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through an artery. The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, dizziness, sweating, nausea, light-headness, shortness of breath, vomiting, and a shooting pain that moves up to the neck and shoulders and then back down to the arm.
While the exact causes of heart attacks are debatable, the risk factors include smoking, being overweight, chronic stress, high blood pressure, family history and lack of exercise.
The best ways to prevent a heart attack are to refrain from smoking, get regular exercise, avoid artery-clogging trans fats, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping stress to a minimum.