Heartburn and Jaw Pain: Signs of Heart Problems?
Heartburn and jaw pain are rarely the result of acid reflux, the number one cause of heartburn in people. While there are some cases of jaw pain that develops over time as a result of heartburn, it is important to recognize that this can be a medical emergency requiring immediate intervention by medical professionals.
Heartburn and jaw pain that happen suddenly or which are accompanied by chest pain that radiates into the arms, neck, or jaw can be a sign of heart attack and is cause for alarm.
Heartburn and jaw pain can also indicate a myocardial ischemia. A myocardial ischemia is also a medical emergency and happens when an artery feeding blood to the heart becomes blocked.
Another condition that can cause this type of pain that can occur with people who suffer from chronic acid reflux and similar conditions exists, but until cardiac arrest and myocardial ischemia are ruled out, it is best to seek immediate medical attention.
Heartburn and Jaw Pain with a Heart Attack
Jaw pain and heartburn-like pain can be precursors to cardiac arrest or occur at the beginning of a heart attack. Those who suffer from GERD, a chronic acid reflux condition, can usually tell the difference between heartburn related to acid reflux and the pain experienced at the onset of a heart attack.
Sudden, sharp burning in the chest that feels like heartburn may occur just below the breastbone when a person is entering cardiac arrest. Generally, the person will also feel a pain or pressure in the chest that spreads to an arm, the neck, and jaw. Without this particular symptom, sudden heartburn is less likely caused by a heart condition, though it is still possible that a heart attack is underway.
Dizziness, shortness of breath, sudden pain and pressure, and cold sweat are common symptoms of a heart attack. If you are experiencing heartburn and jaw pain with these symptoms, you should consider it a medical emergency.
Heartburn and Jaw Pain with a Myocardial Ischemia
A myocardial ischemia is a condition in which the blood is prevented or slowed from flowing to the heart and may cause heartburn and jaw pain symptoms. Ultimately, blocked arteries can result in cardiac arrest and should be treated as a medical emergency, as well.
It is important to relieve the blockage as soon as possible. Do not sit around messing with heartburn remedies when you have jaw and chest pain. A sudden blockage is also possible, which will lead to the symptoms of a heart attack as described earlier, to include heartburn and jaw pain.
Heartburn and Jaw Pain with Esophageal Spasm
A less common affliction in people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is known as an esophageal spasm. This is a condition in which the muscles that normally contract within the esophagus to force food down to the stomach begin to spasm uncontrollably in the absence of food.
Heartburn and jaw pain are possible symptoms of this condition because it is thought to be caused by chronic acid reflux. There are two kinds of esophageal spasms: diffuse esophageal spasms and nutcracker esophageal spasms.
Diffuse spasms occur when the muscles in the esophagus contract randomly (as opposed to an orderly fashion that is followed when swallowing). Nutcracker spasms occur when the muscles in the esophagus are coordinated as normal, but the contractions are much more significant and may occur when there is no food to be swallowed.
Heartburn, jaw pain, chest pain, painful swallowing, and the inability to swallow are common symptoms of esophageal spasm conditions. Esophageal spasms can occur with GERD, a nervous system problem known as achalasia that prevents the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) from opening, and as a symptom of a panic attack.