In fact, there is a medical disorder called Postprandial Angina. The patient can have chest pain where eating is a known precipitant of angina attacks. In the same token, one can experience that burning chest pain sensation of heartburn after a hearty meal.
“So what is it then? Is this chest pain from my heart or from my stomach?”
Heartburn is a burning sensation that rises from your stomach on lower chest up towards your throat. Occasionally, it may feel like food is coming back up, and some people get an acid or bitter taste in the back of the mouth. Heartburn can last for several hours and is often worse after eating, or when lying down or bending over. Overall, you don’t normally get the above packaged-symptoms from an existing heart condition.
Heartburn is also the most common symptom of reflux.
What is reflux?
Reflux occurs when acid in your stomach, which is there to help you digest your food, rises up into your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach), causing irritation, pain and discomfort. Other symptoms of reflux include difficulty swallowing, excessive burping and regurgitation.
What causes reflux?
Normally, the contents of your stomach are prevented from moving up into your esophagus by a ring of muscle. The muscle acts as a one-way valve, allowing food to enter your stomach but not to exit the same way. Sometimes, this valve doesn’t work properly and allows stomach acid to rise up into your esophagus. When your esophagus is exposed to the acid, it may become irritated and painful.
How serious is it?
Most people experience reflux occasionally, but some suffer from it more regularly. If you experience heartburn or other symptoms of reflux more than twice a week, or these symptoms adversely affect your wellbeing, you may have gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD can have a significant impact on quality of life and may damage your esophagus if it is not treated appropriately. If you have GERD, refluxed stomach acid may inflame and damage the lining of your esophagus. It is not possible to tell from your symptoms whether or not you have damage to your esophagus.
That’s why it’s important to see your doctor if you experience troublesome symptoms or your symptoms occur more than twice a week.
If left untreated, GERD may also lead to more serious complications. Fortunately, many of these complications can be avoided with proper monitoring.
Heartburn and reflux can be treated with medications to neutralise or reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. This reduces the discomfort caused by refluxed stomach acid and enables the lining of your esophagus to heal.
There are also some dietary and lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the occurrence of symptoms.
Tips for reducing reflux symptoms
* Particular foods can make reflux and heartburn worse. These foods may differ from person to person. Try to identify and avoid the foods that make your symptoms worse.
* Foods that commonly cause increased reflux and heartburn include fatty and fried
foods, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine.
* Avoid eating for three hours before going to bed.
* Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
* Smoking can aggravate heartburn, so it’s a good idea to consider quitting.
* Try to lose excess weight. Being overweight puts extra pressure on your stomach.
* Avoid clothing with tight waistbands.
* When lying down, try to keep your head higher than your stomach.
* Try to reduce stress as much as possible.
Heartburn myths and facts
Myth: ‘My heartburn is caused by the foods I eat’
Fact: While it is true that some of the foods you eat may aggravate your
heartburn symptoms, many people have heartburn no matter what they eat. This is because the underlying cause of heartburn is a medical problem.
Myth: ‘Heartburn is a fact of life that I can’t control’
Fact: If you have heartburn, you needn’t suffer in silence. Changes in diet and lifestyle,
along with effective management by your doctor, can provide relief for most sufferers.
Myth: ‘Heartburn is just a minor, trivial complaint’
Fact: Heartburn is common, but it is not trivial. In fact, frequent heartburn can severely
impact your quality of life. In addition, persistent heartburn can be a symptom of GERD, which, if left untreated, can cause or contribute to other medical problems.
Myth: ‘Antacids I get from my pharmacy are the best option’
Fact: These medicines are only intended to relieve occasional heartburn. If you experience heartburn or other reflux symptoms more than twice a week or if your symptoms are affecting your wellbeing, you should talk to your doctor.
Myth: ‘If I take medication to reduce stomach acid, I won’t be able to digest my food’
Fact: Even if you are taking medication that reduces the amount of acid produced in your
stomach, you will still produce enough acid to allow normal digestion of food.
The acid works together with other substances in your stomach, called enzymes, to break down food. Medications that reduce acid production do not reduce the production of these digestive enzymes.
Myth: ‘I can stop taking my reflux medication when I’m feeling better’
Fact: Unfortunately, most people who have reflux symptoms continue to have trouble
if they don’t take medication. However, some people may not need to take medication every day.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to the way you take your medication. That said, I hope this article has cleared some of the myths you may have had about heartburn.
As always, feel free to drop us a line for any questions. Be well always
Author: Rowell Bulan, M.D.
Your Guide To Home health Care
Acid Reflux Home Remedy & Natural Cure (A Reenactment of how old crab-apple burgundy cured his heartburn and acid reflux!)