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Cardiovascular Disease And Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Here's The Connection Between The Two

Some of the symptoms of one's upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract may overlap with heart attack creating issues in giving a correct diagnosis. Read here to know more about this.

Cardiovascular Disease And Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Heres The Connection Between The Two

Pain is chest is one of the most significant signs of heart disease

The number of patients succumbing to cardiovascular issues like heart attacks and heart failure is increasing at a rapid rate. Likewise, more and more people are suffering from gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel diseases and so on. According to research, there is a connection between your heart and gastrointestinal system. You will be shocked to know that some of the symptoms of one's upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract may overlap with heart attack creating issues in giving a correct diagnosis. Also, gut bacteria tend to affect the plaque that occurs in atherosclerosis (the arteries in one's heart) which is also one of the factors leading to heart problems. That is why it is the need of the hour to get a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Maintaining a good cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health is essential as one's circulatory system can be cited as a good example of how body systems tend to interact with each other. The circulatory system consists of the heart and blood vessels and allows blood to be pumped all over one's body. The heart pumps blood via a complex network of blood vessels. And when the blood passes via the digestive system, it pickups nutrients from the body absorbed from the meal that one has the last time. Likewise, oxygen inhaled by the lungs is also carried by the blood. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the other cells of the body by the circulatory system and then pick up waste products created by these cells, including carbon dioxide, and delivers these waste products to the kidneys and lungs to carry the disposal process. Hence, the digestive system is the system of the body that helps digest food and absorb its nutrients too. It also includes organs such as the stomach and intestines.

Cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Some of the symptoms of the upper GI tract are similar to the heart attack and may invite problems in the correct diagnosis. It is very well known that gastrointestinal disease may prevent chest pain and imitate angina and vice versa. This is why prompt diagnosis and treatment is the need of the hour.
  • A heart attack may also present with signs such as vomiting or abdominal pain. Many patients encounter the problem of gases after some exertion or maybe in the middle of the night and it vanishes when one takes rest. So, if one is more than 40-45 years of age, investigate these gases to rule out heart issues. Another connection is also with advanced heart failure.
  • One may initially experience stomach ache and increased pressure on the right side of the heart, and as time passes, the symptoms may become chronic. The pain may occur on the right side section of the stomach. There will also be a painful sensation in the esophageal sphincter. Other symptoms that may indicate heart disease are sweating, nausea, and fatigue. Since these three symptoms may be a sign of a heart attack. Seek immediate medical attention once you notice the symptoms.

Keep your gut and heart-healthy

  • Exercise daily to stay fit. You must at least walk or do other activities such as yoga, meditation, running, jogging, or aerobics.
  • Opt for probiotics to keep your gut in top shape.
  • Build your immune system by opting for a healthy and well-balanced diet. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and pulses. Cut down on salty, spicy, oil, and junk food. Alcohol and smoking are not advisable.

Takeaway: Visit your doctor and investigate further for the correct diagnosis as the heart and gastrointestinal health are interconnected. If you have any doubts regarding this then get it cleared from the doctor. Do not self-medicate as using the over-the-counter medication can be risky. Also, ignoring your health problems is a strict no-no.

(Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre)

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