gas pain in chest

Is It Gas Pain or a Heart Attack?

What is the difference between chest gas pain and a real heart attack? Gas pain has been a problem for laypeople for decades, often being mistaken for something worse. While there’s nothing wrong with being cautious, especially when a pain has never been felt before and produces serious discomfort, gas pain can be annoying and misleading.

Why Does Gas Pain Happen in the Chest?

Gas pain not only can but does cause serious pain in the chest area. The most common cause of the condition comes from drinking carbonated drinks and heavy foods. Once excess gas aggregates inside the body, it starts to create pressure for somewhere to go. In most cases, it goes away with digestion. Other symptoms are common with this situation as well, including heartburn and, eventually, gas release via flatulence. In very serious cases, the excess gas tends to come from bad food. In these cases, dairy, carbonation or wheat can be the culprit.

Sensations & Symptoms in the Chest

For the uninitiated, a gas chest pain can come on strong. It feels like pressure but painful as well. The difference between that and a heart attack is that the gas pain in frequently temporary and short. It comes on solid and then passes, and it typically migrates into heartburn and eventually lower gut cramps as the gas moves along the digestive tract.

Heart attack pain, in comparison, feelings like a growing pressure towards the center or left of the chest area. Sweating, loss of feeling, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea tend to happen with a heart attack and not with gas pain. If there seems to be a mix, a person should err on the side of a serious concern and call for help. As a heart physician, Dr. Ian Weisberg notes that it’s better to be wrong than to be right and not get help.

Gender Differences Can Confuse Matters

How women have heart attacks can be very different from men’s instances, and many patients have confused a heart attack with bad indigestion, nausea and food poisoning, sensations that tend to be more pronounced in women having heart attacks than in men. Again, playing safe is a smarter approach if not sure and the gas pain in the chest area doesn’t seem to go away after a few seconds. If, on the other hand, the pain moves to the abdomen followed by flatulence, gas is very likely the culprit instead. Don’t feel bad to let it release to get relief instead of continuing the pain internally.

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