Pay attention to symptoms, seek help immediately if condition warrants
By Gordon L. Kritzer, MD, FACC
Cardiologists, Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center
Since large meals are often part of holiday celebrations, it is easy to over eat when celebrating Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions.
If, after eating a big meal, you feel a burning sensation in your chest, you might think it is heartburn, and it might be. However, there is a chance that the chest pain could be caused by reduced blood flow to your heart (angina) or an actual heart attack.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn, often called acid indigestion, is discomfort or actual pain caused by digestive acid moving into the esophagus, which carries swallowed food to your stomach.
Classic heartburn symptoms include:
- A burning sensation starting in the upper abdomen and moving up into the chest
- Usually occurs after eating or while lying down or bending over
- May awaken you from sleep, especially if you have eaten within two hours of going to bed
- Usually relieved by antacids
- Might be accompanied by a sour taste in your mouth, especially when you are lying down
- May be accompanied by a small amount of stomach contents rising up into the back of your throat (regurgitation)