Heartburn is often mistaken for a heart attack because their symptoms are largely similar. What it is actually is acid reflux, or a type of indigestion that’s caused by stomach acids being regurgitated into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. The chest pain typically happens after eating and can last from a few minutes to hours. The burning discomfort may also be felt after lying down or bending over.

According to the Mayo Clinic, heart attack, angina and heartburn symptoms overlap in some ways, and there are confirmatory tests in clinics and hospitals to single one out. Because of the confusion, it is recommended that you seek medical help or call 911 right away whenever you feel persistent chest pains and do not know what’s causing them. While the pain for either may not last long, making them easy to dismiss, here are five signs of heartburn that you should never ignore. 

Persistent and Chronic Chest Pain

Blaming recurrent chest pains to just heartburn all the time could be a dangerous habit, as you sometimes cannot tell if it is already a heart attack. If the pain is tight, not burning, that is a major telltale sign of an emergency. Other signs include a racing heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, sweating, and pain that radiates from the chest to the jaw, shoulders, or arm.

Symptoms That Don’t Go Away

If you experience heartburn more than two times per week, that could be a signal that you need to get checked by a doctor. While it might not be heart attack, it can mean another associated condition like GERD, or a type of acid reflux that requires medical intervention. If left unaddressed, you could end up with Barrett’s esophagus, which is a condition that can lead to cancer. 

Hoarseness and Chronic Coughing

If there is a difference in your voice or constant coughing that could mean that the acid has damaged your vocal chords and esophagus. It could also mean that you have GERD. When acid is always present in your esophagus, this could lead to repeated cases of pneumonia or asthma. If this is your case, consult with your doctor immediately so he or she can give you an appropriate plan of treatment.

While heartburn feels like something you can handle and is totally benign, it’s important that you get your checked if you’re experiencing repeated symptoms. It might not be a heart attack, but an untreated heartburn may lead to other serious gastric and esophageal issues in the future.