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    Symptoms That Mimic Heart Attack And What They Actually Mean

    Have you ever experienced severe pain in the chest? Often it is assumed that pain on the left side of your chest is due to cardiac arrest. But, in reality, this pain may have nothing to do with a heart attack. In case you are experiencing the symptoms of cardiovascular attack such as stabbing pain, uncomfortable pressure, or sudden onset of weakness, then it is a call for an emergency.

    Under such circumstances, it is best to consult an expert cardiologist to minimize the effect of the attack. However, we often get perplexed with chest pain and fail to differentiate between a heart attack or heartburn or a panic attack. There are several symptoms which can mimic a heart attack, but in reality, they have no connection to your heart. Let us see the possible non-heart attack causes which can scare you!

    Symptoms That Mimic Heart Attack And What They Actually Mean
    • Heartburn
    • Chest Pain
    • Pain Along The Ribs On One Side
    • Pain That Radiates To The Chest
    • Chest Tightening
    • Pain While Breathing
    • Chest Pain And Discomfort


    A severe form of acidity can make you wonder whether you are undergoing a heart attack or is it just acid reflux. Acidity is one of the significant health hazards which most of us have faced at some point in time. The main reason behind this is indigestion which results in heartburn or pain in the back and severe cases in the chest.

    However, if you are not exposed to any cardiac illness, you can treat acidity by taking some antacid to sooth the effect of heartburn. You can even try some home remedies like sleeping on the left side or chewing gum which generates enough saliva to wash off the acid from the esophagus and eases heartburn.

    Chest Pain

    There are times, when you may witness a person being rushed through the emergency doors of a hospital due to severe chest pain. They will show similar symptoms as that of cardiac arrest including the cardiac enzymes which cause damage to the heart muscles.

    But in the ECG report, although there is an abnormality, no sign of blockage is seen. Such a condition is called Broken Heart Syndrome, which occurs from stressful events, severe illness or surgery. Managing your anxiety and stress level is its only remedy.

    Pain Along The Ribs On One Side

    Have you ever felt a sharp pain around your rib cage? Well, there is nothing to panic as this is not a heart attack. You are probably suffering from shingles, wherein with the resurgence of chickenpox virus in the body, a severe pain gets radiated along one side of your rib cage. Sometimes shingles is accompanied by a rash.

    Pain That Radiates To The Chest

    Pancreatitis is an inflammatory situation of the pancreas which is an elongated flat gland behind the stomach. Although it is situated in our abdomen, it can radiate enough pain to the chest, that you might assume it to be a heart attack. With proper diagnosis, pancreatitis can be treated.

    Chest Tightening

    Are you suffering from work stress, depression, or anxiety? If yes, then you are at a higher risk of suffering from a panic attack. Often people suffering from the notion of having a heart attack are in reality undergoing a panic attack. The symptoms of both are almost similar such as heart palpitation, tightening of chest, lightheadedness, and sweaty palms; thus, it is best to consult a physician if you have recurrent panic attacks.

    Pain While Breathing

    It is seen that people suffering from costochondritis assume a chest pain to be that of a heart attack. In the case of costochondritis, there is an inflammation of the cartilage in between the ribs which causes pain in the chest. While taking deep breaths, this pain often aggravates.

    This inflammatory condition can be present on both sides of the chest; however, only one side is affected worse. One way to detect costochondritis is by lifting your arms above the head. Remember that a pain caused by heart attack will be the same regardless of motion, but costochondritis may start healing with body movements.

    Chest Pain And Discomfort

    Are you suffering from chronic heartburn, especially after having dinner? In that case, you might be suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is a mild acid reflux where stomach acid flows back to the esophagus which connects the stomach and mouth.

    In severe cases, GERD needs to be treated with medication or even surgery. But for those who are in its initial stage, a change in your lifestyle can ease the discomfort caused by GERD.

    So these are some of the non-heart attack conditions which can resemble a chest pain like that of cardiac arrest, but in reality, indicate some other ailment. It is, however, best to consult a doctor for any of these perils.

    Read more about: symptoms heart attack signs
    Story first published: Friday, August 31, 2018, 8:00 [IST]
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