If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), there is a chance you may experience chest pain that is very similar to the types people experience when they have heart disease or other heart-related problems. The trouble is knowing whether your pain is a result of GERD or if it is being caused by a problem with your heart. Here are several things you should understand about GERD and the pain it can cause to your chest.
Why GERD Causes Chest Pain?
GERD is a common condition that allows acids from the stomach to work their way back up through the esophagus. This normally occurs when the muscles that separate these two areas become too relaxed. When this happens, you will most likely experience heartburn. Heartburn can make your chest hurt and can be extremely uncomfortable, but it does not actually pose any risks to your heart.
The symptoms of GERD can appear at any time, but they are more prevalent when lying down. When you are lying down, it is much easier for the acids to work their way up. The symptoms can also be triggered by the foods you eat. Any type of acidic food may cause the symptoms to worsen. To prevent the symptoms, you may have to cut certain types of foods and beverages out of your diet. This may include coffee, chocolate, and alcohol.
What Type Of Chest Pain Does This Cause?
Heartburn is a type of chest pain that you will probably experience from GERD. This pain feels like a burning sensation in the chest, and it is very common for people with GERD. Typically, doctors treat GERD with daily antacid tablets. These tablets stabilize the acid by absorbing it, and this will often reduce the heartburn a person feels.
Heartburn is not the only type of pain GERD can leave you with though. There are times when the pain can feel a lot different than heartburn. The main type is called non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP). This type of chest pain is not caused by the heart but can instead be the result of GERD. With NCCP, the pain will typically be felt deep in your chest, and it will typically be limited to just this area. There are times, though, in which it can spread to other body parts, but this is not typical.
The opposite of NCCP is cardiac chest pain, and this type is related to your heart. The main difference is that cardiac chest pain can easily spread to your arms, back, and neck.
Should You Get Examined?
If you are beginning to feel chest pain more frequently that does not seem like regular heartburn, it's a good idea to get checked out. Your doctor might suggest visiting a heart specialist as a safe way of approaching this issue. A heart doctor is likely to ask you a lot of questions and listen to your heart. If the doctor suspects a problem with your heart, he or she may want you to have one or more heart tests completed.
One of these tests is called a stress test. During a stress test, you may have to walk on a treadmill to get your heart pumping faster and harder. The doctor will then be able to examine how your heart is functioning while it is beating harder and faster, and this is a great way to locate problems. An echocardiogram is another type of test used to view your heart to find problems.
The pain you are feeling might simply be a result of your GERD; however, it is better to be safe than sorry. To learn more about GERD or pain management options for your symptoms, contact a doctor that specializes in heart-related issues.