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9 Serious Conditions That Mimic Heartburn

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Credit: Corbis

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Pleuritis or costochondritis

Inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, known as pleuritis or pleurisy, can cause heartburn-like chest pain. Pleuritis should be suspected "if the pain or burning gets worse when you take deep breaths or move around," Dr. Madanick says.

Pleuritis is most commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and resolves when the infection does.

Costochondritis—an inflammation of the cartilage anchoring ribs to the breastbone—can cause sharp pain along the breastbone or sternum. It can be related to injury or infection, and typically is treated with anti-inflammatory medicines, pain relievers, and rest.

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