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What are the possible differences between angina and heartburn?

Submitted by bbhealth on Sun, 08/09/2020 - 23:25

Angina and heartburn, although exhibiting similar traits, have their roots in very different causes. Doctors are able to determine their exact nature when they undertake proper diagnostic procedures.

So what exactly is heartburn?Heartburn is a physical condition associated with a burning sensation in the chest. This burning sensation is felt when lying down, bending over, or after a heavy meal. Occasional heartburn is quite normal; however, a higher frequency may indicate a more serious health condition.

And what is angina?

Angina (also known as Angina Pectoris) is a medical condition associated with the left side chest pain usually felt as squeezing, fullness, heaviness or tightness. It occurs during physical exertions and is under control by taking adequate rest.

Note: Both angina and heartburn are not diseases in themselves. Since both can cause discomfort in the chest, it often becomes difficult to distinguish the two. Only a careful examination of the differences in their nature, symptoms, and causes, can help in truly identifying them.

Differences by types:


  • Occasional heartburn (mild, easily treated by antacids)
  • Frequent heartburn (regular and unpredictable in occurrence, signals the possibility of a serious oesophagal condition)


  • Stable angina (mild, occurs during physical exertion, lasts for approximately 5mins, can be treated by rest or medications)
  • Unstable angina(irregular, occurs even when at rest, more severe than stable angina, lasts for around 30mins, does not respond to medications, signals an upcoming heart attack)
  • Variant Angina (occurs when the body is at rest, rare in occurrence, more severe than stable angina, may or may not be treated by medications)

Differences by symptoms:


  • Burning sensation in the chest following a heavy meal
  • Intensifies when lying down or bending forward
  • Leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and oesophagus


  • Left side chest pain felt as squeezing, fullness, heaviness, etc.
  • Spreads to neck, jaw, shoulders and back areas
  • Nauseating Feeling
  • Weariness
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Profuse Perspiration
  • Reeling Sensations

Differences by causes:

Caused by gastroesophageal disorder, whereby the lower oesophagal sphincter responsible for food propagation starts to lose functionality, resulting in acid reflux.

It is a form of coronary artery disease, whereby the excess accumulation of fatty deposits (plaques) on the inner walls of the coronary arteries narrows them causing restricted blood flow to the heart.

Differences by risk factors:

  • Spicy Foods
  • Excess Onion
  • Citrus Sources
  • Tomato Products
  • Fried Fatty Foods
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate Products
  • Carbonated & Caffeinated Beverages
  • Heavy Meals


  • Tobacco Usage
  • Diabetic Conditions
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol Level
  • Genetics
  • Ageing
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Stress & Anxiety

Differences by diagnostic procedures:

  • X-Ray
  • Endoscopy
  • Ambulatory Acid Probe Test
  • Oesophageal Motility Test


  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Stress Test
  • Echocardiogram
  • Nuclear Stress Test
  • Blood Test
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Cardiac Tomography Scan (CT Scan)
  • Cardiac MRI

Differences by treatment methods:


  • Antacids
  • H-2-Receptor Antagonists
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors


  • Lifestyle Alterations (workouts, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits & vegetables, minimized saturated fat intake, reduced tobacco consumption, adequate rest, moderate meal size, reduced stress and anxiety level, etc.)
  • Medications (Nitrates, Statins, Aspirin, Beta Blockers, Ranolazine, etc.)
  • Surgeries (Angioplasty & Stenting, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, etc.)

Both angina and heartburn are not diseases, but symptoms of deteriorating health. Left untreated, they can lead to various health complications. Therefore, both should be treated with utmost care and guidance, and patients should check their diagnostic results to differentiate between the two.