Which Symptoms and Signs of Heart Attack and Hiatal Hernia Are Different? Which Are the Same?
Heart Attack Warning Symptoms and Signs
Classic symptoms of a heart attack may include
- chest pain associated with shortness of breath,
- profuse sweating, and
The chest pain feels like a tightness, fullness, pressure, or ache, which may radiate from the chest to the neck, jaw, shoulder, or back, associated with shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating.
Unfortunately, many people do not have these classic signs. Other signs and symptoms of heart attack may include
- jaw ache,
- the pain only in the shoulders or arms,
- shortness of breath, or
- nausea and vomiting.
This is NOT a complete list of heart attack symptoms and signs since many people can experience a heart attack with minimal symptoms. In women and the elderly, heart attack symptoms can be atypical and sometimes so vague they are easily missed. The only symptom may be extreme weakness or fatigue. The chest pain may also radiate from the chest to the neck, jaw, shoulder, or back and be associated with shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating.
Hiatal Hernia Symptoms and Signs
For most people, a hiatal hernia by itself causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty swallowing
Pain: At times, a hiatal hernia causes chest pain or upper abdominal pain when the stomach becomes trapped above the diaphragm through the narrow esophageal hiatus. Rarely, in a fixed hiatal hernia the blood supply is cut off to the trapped portion of the stomach, which causes extreme pain and serious illness. This is called a strangulated hiatal hernia, and it is a medical emergency.
Hiatal hernia also causes symptoms of discomfort when it is associated with a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is characterized by regurgitation of stomach acids and digestive enzymes into the esophagus through a weakened sphincter that is supposed to act as a one-way valve between the esophagus and stomach. Hiatal hernia is thought to contribute to the weakening of this sphincter muscle.
Although it is true that a hiatal hernia or GERD can cause chest pain similar to angina (or heart pain) including chest pressure that can radiate to the arm or neck, do not assume that such pain is caused by the less serious condition of the two. When in doubt, it is safer to be seen by a doctor immediately in order to rule out more serious problems first.