Heartburn is a digestive problem that happens when stomach acid comes into contact with the lining of the esophagus, producing irritation. Heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart even though the discomfort may be confused with heart pain and vice versa and is the most routine symptom of a problem called gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux. It is often called acid indigestion and normally occurs after meals and is a daily happening for about 10% of Americans and up to fifty percent of pregnant women.
Symptoms of acid indigestion and a heart attack may feel the same. One of the most frequent symptoms is spitting up. Heartburn symptoms are just flat-out uncomfortable and down right painful. However, many persons will only experience the milder symptoms. Take heed and treat it, especially if you feel symptoms regularly. The good news is that altering your dietary habits can go a long way toward preventing acid indigestion and other signs of GERD.
Heartburn is typically easy to diagnose from the description you give to your physician. If there is any question concerning the diagnosis, you may have the following tests to check for ulcers or other conditions that might be causing your symptoms: barium swallow x-ray study of the esophagus, total upper GI (gastrointestinal) barium x-ray study of the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine endoscopy: a procedure in which a thin flexible tube with a small camera is placed in your mouth and down into your stomach so your physician can see your esophagus and stomach.
To help decrease the symptoms you can attempt not to put much pressure on the sphincter muscle. Get emergency care if the following happens with the heartburn and do not go away within 15 minutes of therapy: shortness of breath; sweating; weakness; or arm, back, or chest pain.
To minimize attacks, an individual may find it beneficial to avoid certain foods that relax the opening between the stomach and esophagus, such as chocolate, peppermint, and chamomile tea shortly before going to bed. Restricting diet is very important, since ninety to ninety five percent of sufferers of heartburn or esophageal disorder can connect their symptoms with specific foods. If the sufferer finds that certain foods tend to make the condition worse, or occur more frequently, they would be better served to avoid them, or at least talk to the health care provider about products that can help in reducing the volume of stomach acid that can produce acid reflux.
Heartburn normally is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the rise of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Acid indigestion and reflux are quite common, with 10 percent of the populace experiencing these symptoms at least once a week and can be created or worsened by pregnancy and by numerous different medications.
It is common ailment, and an occasional occurence is generally nothing to worry about. Relief in the form of milk can be effective and drinking a small quantity of milk regularly over a period of time can start to heal the effects as it moves acid back into the stomach.
A simple and relatively safe way to treat a one time heartburn is to consume a solution of a small amount of Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water, which quickly neutralizes the acid that creates the pain. Chewing gum can provide short-term relief by stimulating the production of saliva, which dilutes and flushes out stomach acid. When heartburn occurs often, however, or becomes severe, you should consult your health care provider.
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