Is it a gas or heart attack?

It is common to have a mistaken heart attack with gas sensation when you have chest pain especially over the left side of your chest. It is extremely important to know the difference between these two as heart attacks can be really life threatening and could be prevented with proper and immediate medical intervention from a dr.

Continue reading the article to know more about the common and main differences between these two.

  1. You may have a heart attack especially if you are in the high risk group such as having multiple medical comorbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, smoking or previous ischemic heart disease.
  2. Heart attack is usually felt as a heavy sensation over the central or left sided chest which is common to radiate to the left arm and jaw. This is due to the sharing of similar nerve innervation between the dermatomes.
  3. The heart attack pain is usually associated with other signs and symptoms such as profusely sweating, numbness and nauseating. These are the common classical symptoms of heart attack.
  4. Heart attack can happen at both the state of rest or after a vigorous exercise with a duration of more than 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. Heart attacks can be relieved partially with medications such as sublingual (under tongue) nitrates.

Apart from heart attack, other heart related problems that cause central chest pain should be identified for early intervention to prevent progression and complication. Such conditions are as follows;

  1. Dissecting aortic aneurysms. This is due to the tearing of the inner layer of blood vessels. It is usually presented as tearing chest pain radiating to the back with high blood pressure.
  2. Pericarditis, which simply means the inflammation of the pericardial sac covering the heart. This chest pain is usually relieved by leaning forward.

If you have any of these signs and symptoms, you would most probably need to seek a doctor immediately to get medical intervention as soon as possible. You might be having a heart attack and this condition should be treated urgently. However, at times you can also have non classical manifestations especially if you are female and have severe medical comorbidities such as severe uncontrolled diabetes.

When could it be gas?


You may also feel chest pain if there is gas accumulated at your stomach or the left part of your colon. This could be possibly due to swallowing too much air or due to certain foods that can cause trapped air. Here are some of the most common reasons why you can get trapped air?

  • Artificial sweeteners can cause a digestive system upset which results in stomach or central chest pain.
  • Consuming food is rich in too much fibre. These fibres which stay long in your gut can produce a lot of air and can cause gas trapping.
  • Drinking too much carbonated drinks can be another reason you are getting gas trapping. This is because the carbon dioxide in the carbonated drinks can cause formation of air bubbles while they are in your gut.
  • Food poisoning. Eating contaminated food or drinks can cause gas pain near your heart. This is usually associated with other symptoms of infections like fever and having diarrhea.
  • Food intolerance. This can also upset your digestive system and results in building up of gas and subsequently gas pain.

Gas trapping usually goes off by itself after a few hours without urgent medical intervention. However, if you have been experiencing worsening of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a doctor to get yourself treated accordingly as it can be a false sign for something more serious and life threatening.