June 4, 2010

Five Things You Need To Know About Acid Reflux

Filed under: acid reflux,heartburn — Tags: , — drwatson @ 11:56 pm

acid refluxMost people generally associate acid reflux with heartburn. It’s a good association, because heartburn is usually the first identifiable symptom of acid reflux, but at the same time, there’s a lot more to know about this condition – which causes both discomfort and health concerns.

  1. The Cause Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid regurgitates back into te esophagus, on a regular basis. This causes heartburn, a condition which every person experiences from time to time, however, because of its frequency; acid reflux causes much more damage to the esophagus. In severe cases, scarring of the esophagus may occur, along with pneumonia or bronchitis as a result of a reflux during sleep, which often allows stomach acid into the lungs.
  2. Those at Risk – Women most commonly experience acid reflux; however, those who are overweight and older than forty years old are more likely to experience acid reflux as well. This is because the stomach’s mechanism for preventing acid reflux (the lower esophageal sphincter) tends to deteriorate with age. If you have certain conditions, such as a hiatal hernia, you may also be more prone to developing acid reflux, as it interferes with the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.
  3. The Symptoms – Frequent heartburn is the most common and often the first noticeable symptom of acid reflux. If you experience heartburn that recurs even after taking medication, you may want to schedule a doctor’s appointment to discuss acid reflux.
  4. The Treatment – Acid reflux is a treatable condition, and there are several medications that have been specially developed to treat it. It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any new medications – whether they are prescription or not. There are several over the counter drugs on the market to help ease the discomfort of acid reflux, including Pepcid, Zantac and Mylanta. If you have more severe acid reflux, your doctor may recommend taking a prescription medication for up to eight weeks such as Nexium, Prevacid and Protonix.
  5. The Trigger Foods – Certain foods will trigger acid reflux, and if you have acid reflux, it’s important to avoid them. These foods may include chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, fatty and fried foods, peppermint and spearmint, spicy foods, onions, peppers, and tomatoes and tomato-based foods. Avoiding alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks and carbonated drinks will be beneficial for your acid reflux as well.

Acid reflux affects close to three hundred million people worldwide, but by knowing what you know now, that acid reflux is so much more than just plain heartburn, you can prevent both yourself and others from experiencing the discomfort associated with acid reflux.

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