It can be difficult to distinguish between a heart attack and indigestion because both cause a similar type of chest discomfort. This is because the heart and the gullet develop from similar cells and have a similar a nerve supply. In the same way that we know if a finger has been burned (even without looking) because the sensation from the finger is represented in a certain area of the brain, so the heart and gullet are also represented in the same area of the brain. The brain finds it difficult to distinguish whether pain is from the heart or the gullet. They both feel the same! That's why indigestion is often called "heartburn." Therefore, people who have indigestion may think they have had a heart attack, and people who have had a heart attack may believe (and naturally would prefer to believe) that they have only indigestion.
Was this article helpful?