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Cardiac problem or GERD?
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Cardiac problem or GERD?

Besides suffering from PVC's and vertigo, lately I have been having this feeling of pressure in my upper chest and throat.  It almost feels tight and like I have food stuck.  

I have asthma too.  Sometimes (like right now) I notice a burning sensation in my stomach, like I need to burp but can't and the sensation makes me feel like I have to cough.  I don't really feel short of breath but like I have to breathe harder.

I have heard that GERD can flare asthma and I was diagnosed with GERD as a child.  I had to have a bunch of tests done to confirm I had an over production of acid in my stomach.  I don't remember what they did for it but I kind of outgrew it.

I am 32 now, female, no significant family history for heart disease (paternal grandfather had a MI around age 60) but no other family history.  No women in the family have heart disease.

I have mild hypertension due to a kidney problem which is well controlled and I also had mildly elevated cholesterol(good cholesterol was in a good range) when I got it tested last year.  Triglycerides were good.  I don't smoke.

So I am wondering, how do I tell the difference if this is heart related or GERD? If I took an antacid and it goes away, does that mean it's GERD?  If it does not go away after an antacid, does that mean I could possibly have a blocked artery?

I am scheduled for a nuclear stress test, holter and echo next week to find out the reason for my palps, rapid heart beat and dizzy spells.  I had a normal echo 2 years ago and also wore a holter which just showed PVC's.

This pressure symptom just started recently so I have no idea whether or not they are related.  It does not happen during exercise.  It just kind of comes on.  I noticed it today after I ate lunch.

Any ideas?
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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154765_tn?1237251544
i have  gerd and i thought i had a heart problem to becaue nothing helped me so I went to a cardiologist to rule it out unlikely you do
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213398_tn?1202674074
i've been suffering the same symptoms and always wondered is it cardiac? doc tells me i probably have gerd and hiatal hernia. my mother has gerd so it may be genetic, not sure. how did your tests turn out? find anything out?
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Avatar_f_tn
GERD is excessive production of acid (what the stomache uses to break down/digest foods); I also gave GERD and it is in chronic form; none of the over the counter antiacids worked so I went to my gastroenterologist and he said that I have GERD.  He prescribed OMEPRAZOLE daily (before the heaviest meal taken-which for me is dinner-I take it 1/2 hour before dinner) and it is supposed to last me 24 hours of relief.  The symptoms were moderate burning sensation of the stomache which slowly creeps up the esophagus (where the food travels down to the stomache) and up to my throat; also I get excessive salivation (from the acid) which makes me want to spit alot (only when its really bad), burning sensation on my chest, and sometimes nausea and even pain.  Now, I also have low thryroids and one of the symptoms of low thyroids is difficulty swallowing (food feels to big to go down, or sharp- as if the food was in the shape of a triangle and one of the points of the triangle would poke my throat and get stuck for a bit, until I force it down); difficulty in swallowing can be a sign of low thyroids, high thyroids, nodules in the throat, or other throat diseases; but, one way to diagnose thyroids is by checking the TSH AND FSH levels (the thyroid's hormones).  If it is low thyroids, like mine, you will have difficulty in swallowing (disfagia), feeling constantly tired, or fatigued, nervousness, or restlessness, mood swings, anxiety, and one sure determinant is rapid unexplained weight gain (with me I only ate one meal a day, ok I know this slows down the metabolism, but for example, on 9/13 I weighed 175 and 3 days later on 9/16 I weighed 183!!!  It got so bad that I was even afraid to eat!  Weight gain (rapid) plus the above mentioned symptoms are a sure sign of low thyroids; with high thyroids the symptoms are the same, but then you get the opposite, "rapid weight loss".  both condition will cause a woman to not be able to come out pregnant until the thyroid is normalized!  The thyroid gland secretes these hormones which in turn governs the functionality of all your major organs, to include the digestive system, heart, stomache, liver, kydneys, uterus (etc..in case I forgot an organ, lol).  I know this because I am trying to have a baby, and my "only" son is now 21 years old...frustrating.  According to WebMD symptoms of heart attacks includes:
1) discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, or below the breastbone.
2) discomfort that radiates (travels down) to the arm, jaw, throat, or back. (sometimes the arm feels numb, or heavy-jaw gets numb, or tight, slight pain-throat clams up, back gets sharp pain and also the stomachew gets sharp pain).  If numbness.pain in the left arm and chest pain occurs at the same time-seek help (or if any of these symptoms occur at the same time in combination with chest pain.
3) fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (like the symptoms of heartburn).
4) sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness (like some pregnancy symptoms, or menopause).
5) extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath (as in fibromyalgia which can cause weakness/anxiety, or asthma/bronquitis/atelectasis which can cause shortness of breath; or upper respiratory infections).
6) rapid, or irregular heartbeats.

"during a heart attack, symptoms lasts 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by stress or oral medications".  WebMD.

I always keep 81mgs of aspiring available, for I heard from a friend of mine who teaches nursing at a college, that if one is haveing symptoms of a heart attack, taking aspiring can actually save your life; she said, "if you have any of these symptoms, take 81 mgs of aspirin (if you are not allergic to it, or if there aren't any contraindications, or reaction to other medications taken), even if you call the ambulance or are on your way to the hospital, for it could be the difference between life or death, in taking it, or not taking it.  "Some people have a heart attack without having ANY SYMPTOMS (A Silent Myocardial Infarction)...silent MI can occur to anyone, but its more common with diabetics".  WebMd.  

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Avatar_f_tn
Now, with Arrhytmia (iiregular heartbeats-the beat is too fast, too slow, or pauses in between beats) can even occur with people who have normal "heart rates"! (rapid heart rate usually with a regular rhythm, originating from above the ventricles that begins/stops suddenly).   Arrhytmias are generally produced when the the electrical impulse of the Sinus Node are not generated enough, too much, or pauses quiclkly; There are 2 types of PSVT (Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia)- 1) Accessory Pathway Tachycardia and 2) AV Nodal re-entrant tachycardia.
Its symptoms are, palpitations, pounding in the chest, dissyness, fainting, shortness of breathm chest discomfort, fatigue (tired all of the time-no energy), nausea, sweating, weakness and anxiety.

Panic attacks can also cause chest pain, pressure in the chest, dizziness, shortness of breath, palpitations, or punding in the chest; this is why it is very important to see the doctor and get checked to rule out everything else. An ECG (Electrocardiogram) is often not enough to pinpoint cardiac problems; sometimes a  nuclear stress test, holterm, echo, and catheterization (doctor determines which one to do) can be more efficient at pinpointing the exact location of the heart that is causing the symptoms; also, the doctor can do "cardiac enzymes exams" (because during a heart attack these exams are contracted into our blood stream and its an indicator of a previous heart attack); or the doctor can check the levels of "TROPONIN".  The heart is a muscle and can repair itself (usually within 6-8 weeks) creating scarring tissues; these new scar tissues are not as flexible as the heart muscle so they contract, but not as much as our heart muscle; the quicker you get to the hospital at the first sign (symptoms) of cardiac problems, the better the chances for a quicker repair process for the heart muscle that was affected by the cardiac problem.  

The causes of arrhytmias are:
Coronary artery disease, electrolyte imbalance (sodium/potassium), changes in heart muscle (as explained when new "scar tissue" is formed after the heart heals itself slowly-6 to 8 weeks if you don't delay to go to the hospital (30 minutes to 1 hour-shouldn't delay more than this to go to the hospital after first signs/symptoms).  If you feel these severe symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, sharp chest pain (left side) heavy and numbing/painful LEFT ARM (where the hand seems to want to close) occurs, with extreme nausea/vomiting, call an ambulance, or have someone else drive you to the hospital immediately.  If doctor prescribed nitroglycerine for use when SEVERE symptoms occur, then please remember to place the nitroglycerine under the tounge (until it disolves) wait 5 minutes and if the pain persist take another NITRO then wait another five minutes; this process of taking NITRO can be done 3 times-one every 5 minutes, NOT to Exceed 3 Dosages, and only continue up to the 3rd dosage if pain extreme pain does not subside!  Always go to the hospital, never take a chance with your life.  There are 850,000 people a year that goes to the hospital with Arrhytmias; and sometimes the doctor will not prescribe medications for it if the arrhytmia is asymptomatic (has no symptoms); but if severe, he may order a heart pacer to maintain normal sinus rhythm, or medications to control the fibrilation (the option is at the doctors recommendations and your decision, for it is easier to control the fibrilation than the SINUS rhythm, for the sinus rhythm may need operation to fix again, in order to stabilize it, while the fibrilation can be treated with medications; but, the doctor prefers to control the sinus rhythm; visualize your heart as a car, the Sinus Node is the starter key which triggers the pistons of the engines to work, and the fibrilation is like having a car run on the last bit of gas, just as it goes to empty, and you are out of gas, you have to pump the gas peddle quickly several times to keep it going, and hope you make it 2 more miles to the gas station, then the car starts to sort of choke, but luckily you made it to the gas station and got some gas, filled up the tank and then it continued to run smoothly; well, this is what the medications for the fibrilation do for us, it controls the shaking of the ventricles and calms it down enough so that the heart can continue to function properly; the sinus node is where the charge to the heart begins.

I used to be a Nurse but it's been a while since I read up on nursing material; like for example, I still have to look up normal heart rhythms (as I did to answer this question), normal ranges on various exams performed on the heart, etc.  but, I enjoy looking up information and with the internet it makes it easier,  Hope my answer helped.  

Jackie
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Avatar_f_tn
Forgot to mention that if GERD (too much acid in the stomache) is left untreated it can cause erosions (ulcers) in your stomache, or even esophagus (where the food travels, path from the throat to the stomache).  Omeprazole is also used not only for the treatment of GERD, but also to help repair, or prevent the damage.  Stay away from processed foods (frozen hamburgers, hot dogs), sauces (such as ketchup, tomatoe sauce, vinegar, or salas dressings; onions, oranges, grapefruit, manderines, lemons (or lemon juice), avoid fiber (it makes it worst with the gas, inflamation (inflammation), nausea-unless the doctor says its ok); sodas, pineapple juice, grape juice, orange juice (these juices will flare up my symptoms to an extreme to where I take the medications and still end up throwing up right after I take the Omeprazole-i have to find out why this happens).  Oily, or food that are fried; also, avoid eating the skin, or fat of the meat!  I know it taste good sometimes, like the cruchy sking of a chicken, or fat from a well fried pork chop, or roast, but it can cause GERD, high CHOLESTEROL, and increase blood pressure if you have problems with your blood pressure.  Red meats (steak, meat for beef stew, etc) can also increment your high blood pressure and this means that you are placing yourself at risk for a heart attack, or a stroke.  I eat red meat once a month, moderately and no fat from the meat; meats are broiled, or baked in the oven, or boiled - instead of corn oil I use Canola, or a tiny bit of olive oil; butter to a minimum (only a bit on my waffles, or pancake-I use the butter spray to cook the pancakes, fry the eggs-the eggs comes out better when I use the spary and then cover them for about a minute, with a see through lid so that I can see the right texture and then take'em out, lol).  I cook the fries in the oven; and when it is really bad, that I ahve taken the meds but it still persist, I eat me 2 slices of bread (sometimes 3)- I tried a donut onece, but, it just made it worst, lol.  Beans has fiber, so I am limited to eating fiber, therefore, I only eat beans on my good days when I have spent all day without symptoms (Yes, I cheat with the beans); I also tried cheating with the lettuce, but leared to deeply regret it afterwards, ugh, so much pain, burning, and excessive saliva; I felt like a camel spitting out bitter saliva, ugh.  Hope this helps.  -jackie.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Be careful and get it checked out.  Search for GERD and you will find foods not to eat usually tomato based, fried, sugary, fatty, alcohol, cigs, large meals, no more than 3 hours before bed, raise your bed headboard end, on and on.

If you get a bitter taste that is the acid......maybe you throw up so you cannot taste that anyway it goes both are very serious with the heart side and GERD, gerd can turn into barretts esphogus a precursor to esphogus cancer.

Best wishes.
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307028_tn?1194544400
Hiya I Am Sixteen with chest jaw and arm pains back pains sudden cramps and heaveines!
i feel dizzy and clammy all the time ! ive had it for a year and its getting worse i think its my heart but doctors dont seen to think so i have had a EKG blood tests Blood pressures they were all normal !!! help
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263988_tn?1281957896
You wrote:
"Stay away from processed foods (frozen hamburgers, hot dogs), sauces (such as ketchup, tomatoe sauce, vinegar, or salas dressings; onions, oranges, grapefruit, manderines, lemons (or lemon juice), avoid fiber (it makes it worst with the gas, inflamation (inflammation), nausea-unless the doctor says its ok); sodas, pineapple juice, grape juice, orange juice (these juices will flare up my symptoms to an extreme to where I take the medications and still end up throwing up right after I take the Omeprazole-i have to find out why this happens)."

Do you stay upright for at least 1/2 hour preferably 1 hour after taking the Omeprazole? Read the instructions on the box or better yet there are several websites which tell you about instructions for taking it.

After I take Nexium, I must sit up for at least 1/2 hour. That means no lifting stuff, no moving around a bunch. It's a good time to write or read. And the medication needs to be taken 1 hour before you eat. That's for Nexium. If I bend over I can have fluid rise up into my throat.

KLB32: There are other reasons for tightness or pressure in your throat.  So you should get that checked out.
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