What's Going Around: Best example of heart attack vs. heartburn

ProMedica emergency room doctor Patrick Bruss M.D. says it's easy to confuse heartburn with a heart attack. It's the way the nerves are set up on the inside of your body, as opposed to the outside of your body.

"Let's say I fall and hurt my arm," says Bruss, "The brain set up and says my arm hurts on the left side, that's where it hurts." Bruss goes on to say "
"So if you're having acid indigestion or if you're having a heart attack, or if you're having an issue with a lung, the brain can't say hey it's my stomach..or my esophagus, or hey it's my heart, it says there's a problem somewhere in this area."

That could be the chest, the shoulder, the next or the back. So Dr. Bruss says start with the basics. "The most people who are at risk for having atypical signs when you're having a heart attack is women, especially women over the age of 55 and women who have diabetes."

Across the board, men or women all share one heart obvious heart attack. Dr. Bruss says, "What I tell people is when your patient sweats, you should be sweating. So any kind of chest pain slash indigestion with sweating is a big red flag and that you should go to the hospital for right away."

If you're having heartburn and you know it's that because you've had it before, the best way to treat it is fast. "Use the antacids that work right away like the calcium, the Tums, the Mylanta and the Pepto Bismol," says Bruss.

If those don't kick in within 10 to 15 minutes, it's more likely a heart issue, but that's where it gets confusing.

Dr. Bruss says, "For me, it's like well what's your concerning level, I've never had anything like this before, this doesn't make sense, I don't feel right, something's wrong. That's your body's way of telling you something needs to be done, something needs to be checked out.