When diagnoses go bad, a shocking true story

  • This is really scary stuff – and it happens way too often
  • When a diagnosis for acid reflux turns out to be something much, much worse
  • Is it a heart attack or heartburn? How to find out…

I got an email from a reader this week that I just had to pass on.

Because it’s important.

And as my reader says, it just might help someone.

Ok, so here’s what happened…

How a bad case of heartburn turned out to be something worse

For the past 18 months he had been getting a treatment for acid reflux, including Omeprazole tablets and a big bottle of Gaviscon.

However, it wasn’t working…

He writes: “Two or three times a day pain was so bad that, at its height, I would wish I could die just for relief.”

The trouble was, he was sick of going to the doctor.

After all, he’d already been diagnosed with heartburn and given a prescription for it, so what else was likely to happen?

But fortunately, he had a friend who was a retired doctor.

He told him that he should go and get tested for a possible peptic ulcer.

These ulcers occur when sores develop in the lining of the stomach, oesophagus, or small intestine, usually as a result of H. pylori-bacteria which can cause inflammation.

So he arranged for a test and on a Sunday in December, his daughter dropped him off at the hospital.

As he walked through the building, he got a searing pain that was so bad he staggered and had to clutch onto the handrail to stop himself falling.

Some passers-by asked if he was ok and the next thing he knew he was being surrounded by worried staff, then whisked off to a cubicle.

Two doctors arrived and told him that he’d had either a heart attack or angina.

“After tests and checks,” he says, “they found that I had one completely blocked and two part-blocked valves in my heart that would need a triple heart bypass.”

Wow… from heartburn to a heart attack – that was some escalation wasn’t it?

Frightening stuff.

Fortunately, he is now on the mend.

“I had 18 months of hell and more attacks than I could even count,” he writes, “but since the operation, no attacks and no more of that pain.”

He concluded his email with: “I hope this is of some interest to you and will help someone like me.”

The big reason my reader wanted me to pass on his story was this…

A problem with diagnosing heart problems

Acid reflux and angina are often diagnosed wrongly. Which is a big concern, as this can lead to symptoms of serious heart conditions being overlooked – even by the medical profession.

Many people reading this might be suffering from what they are told (or self-diagnose) as reflux or indigestion.

It’s only much later that they might discover it’s a much more serious problem. That is, if they are lucky to find out before the worst happens.

I’m not trying to scare you here, just to make you aware of a common issue with heartburn.

In fact, I wrote about this subject a while back…

But in that letter, it was about how women tend to get this misdiagnosis.

I told the story of a woman who felt a burning sensation behind her sternum and shortness of breath, as if something was pressing on her chest.

She thought it was a bit of indigestion…

But she was eventually convinced by her husband to get it checked out properly.

At the hospital a junior doctor hooked her up to an ECG machine and, returning with her results, said that there wasn’t anything obvious in the findings.

Luckily, he offered to go and get a second opinion.

While he was out of the room, she got dull pain in her jaw and around her left shoulder blade.

When the senior specialist arrived and listened to her new symptoms, he told her she was actually suffering from a heart attack.

The reason she wasn’t getting the usual chest pains or problems in the left arm was that these symptoms usually relate to men, not women.

You see, many of the clinical models used to diagnose problems are based upon male subjects as researchers avoid testing women so that they can exclude the effects of hormonal changes.

However, as the email I got from a reader this week proves, men are not immune from this confusion.

So whether you’re a man or a woman, if you find yourself getting these symptoms, do not ignore them:

  • Pressure, tightness or pain in your chest or arms (it may spread to your neck, jaw or back)
  • Nausea, indigestion and heartburn
  • Getting fatigued by simple tasks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat and light-headedness

These are typical signs of a heart attack. And if these pains last longer than 15 minutes, it could be serious.

On the other hand, these are the symptoms you get with heartburn:

  • A burning sensation in the upper abdomen that moves into the chest
  • Pain after eating, or while lying down/bending over
  • Traces of stomach contents rising into the back of your throat

They’re close, but you can see there are differences.

However, if you are worried, be persistent and get to an emergency room, where you’ll immediately have tests that can help rule out a heart attack.

Most of the time, of course, it will simply be a case of reflux, in which case here’s what I recommend…

How to prevent heartburn

Propargile is a natural remedy in a capsule form, which includes clay to draw out waste products in your digestive system, as well as propolis, which is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Taken regularly it can prevent, and ease, heartburn. For more information, take a look at this: Propargile for Heartburn

That’s it from me – do please keep sending me your experiences and thoughts! And if I can share them with other readers, even better!