When Heartburn Becomes Acid Reflux
There is a fairly simple way to know if heartburn is caused by gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. As Andrew Gawron, MD, a gastroenterologist with University of Utah Health puts it, The definition of gastroesophageal acid reflux disease is when reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus cause troublesome symptoms or complications that impact the quality of life.
In other words, if heartburn is frequent enough that it causes problems that make your quality of life diminished, you may have acid reflux disease. This might mean that youre unable to sleep at night because of pain, or you might go so far as to find that acid is eating away at the lining of the throat or esophagus. In some cases, GERD can also predispose someone to a pre-cancerous condition in the esophagus called Barretts esophagus.
Things That Can Make Heartburn Worse
Many things can make heartburn worse. Heartburn is most common after overeating, when bending over or when lying down. Pregnancy, stress, and certain foods can also make heartburn worse.
Things that can make heartburn worse:
- Cigarette smoking
- Certain drinks, including coffee , other drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
- Citrus fruits
- Fatty foods or spicy foods
- Lying down too soon after eating
- Being overweight or obese
Low Stomach Acid Causes Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
The functional medicine approach has uncovered causal factors regarding heartburn and uses an approach to remedy it different from conventional practices. The functional medicine practitioner wants to treat the root cause of the problem. Drugs, such as Prilosec can just mask the symptoms instead of treating the cause of the problem, and many have severe adverse effects.
Heartburn, however, isnt caused by too much stomach acid, that is to say, too much HCl, as conventional practitioners have been taught heartburn is caused by not enough stomach acid. Acid-blocking drugs not only have adverse side effects, but they do not treat the cause of the problem, they just exacerbate it.
It may seem a little counter-intuitive that HCl is necessary, but it will make more sense with a little understanding of digestive physiology. There are several reasons HCl is important. The stomach acid we call HCl, or hydrochloric acid, is your bodys first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria and microbes. An optimum level of healthy stomach acid will kill pathogens and keep them from turning into an infection.
How Deficiency in Stomach Acid, or HCl Leads to Heartburn
Tips for Increasing HClBecause the gut is a first line foundation for physical wellness, achieving a healthy level of stomach acid is avery important step in supporting the health of your brain and body. If you suspect that you have low stomachacid, here are some tips for naturally increasing HCl production:
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How Many Carbohydrates Should We Eat
To answer this question we need to look at the evolution of our Stone Age ancestors and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed. Scientific evidence suggests that our primitive ancestors ate a diet that consisted predominantly of animal tissue and plants known as browsing foliage .
During the Stone Age, carbohydrates were very uncommon in the wild and consisted of occasional roots, wild fruit or honey. Overall, the availability of carbohydrates was uncommon. Other than being on a tropical island, when was the last time you saw some fruit such as an apple or orange when walking in the woods? These foods do not grow commonly in the wild. They are cultivated plants that became more readily available after the agricultural revolution.
Many Americans consume more carbohydrates per day than our Stone Age ancestors consumed in a year. The amounts of carbohydrates available for human consumption didnt begin to increase until the agricultural revolution when man learned to grow grains such as wheat, barley and millet. The domestication of livestock and the consumption of livestock milk became an additional source of carbohydrates as well.
The point of this is to help you understand that we were designed through evolution to adapt to eating predominantly animal tissue and low amounts of carbohydrates. We did not develop the metabolic ability to handle such large quantities of carbohydrates in our diet and our bodies are suffering because of it.
Watch For These Signs Of Gerd
If you have GERD, along with heartburn you may also notice regurgitation at night. When you lay down after eating a heavier meal or drinking water before bed, you can wake up burping up acid, or feel acid in the back of your throat or mouth. These are classic symptoms of GERD, Dr. Graf said.
Less often, you might notice a chronic cough, hoarseness, a feeling that your voice gets tired quickly, or difficulty swallowing.
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Do Acid Reflux & Heartburn Medicines Increase My Risk Of Getting Covid
There are many heartburn medications available over-the-counter such as: antacids , famotidine , and proton pump inhibitors . There have been some studies surveying if the use of heartburn medications – specifically proton pump inhibitors – increases your risk of getting COVID-19. One study from The American Journal of Gastroenterology surveyed patients and found that patients using PPIs twice daily had higher odds of testing positive for COVID-19 compared to those using PPIs once daily. Although this showed some data, we cant assume that PPIs automatically cause COVID-19. There must be more clinical trials done to further prove that heartburn medications increase your chances of getting COVID-19. For now, the recommended dosing for PPIs is once daily, unless recommended otherwise by your healthcare provider.
Can’t I Just Take Over
The amount of medicine in the over-the-counter drugs for heartburn is lower than the amount in the prescription form of these medicines. And before you try an over-the-counter medicine, it’s important to see your doctor. Your doctor will help you get a medicine that works well for you.
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Heartburn Vs Heart Attack
How can you tell if your chest pain is just heartburn or something more serious involving your heart? Signs that it might be more than heartburn include shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness or dizziness and chest pain that spreads to your neck, jaw or back, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But not all heart attacks involve these typical symptoms, so if you have persistent chest pain and you don’t know whether or not it’s heartburn, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Call 911 or seek emergency medical help.
When To Connect With Health Care Provider
Dr. Graf said if these tips dont get your symptoms under control, or if youre experiencing regurgitation, you should talk to your primary care provider or a gastroenterologist. Its important to get treatment because GERD symptoms arent just uncomfortable. Acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. And over time that damage can lead to a condition called Barretts esophagus, which makes it more likely that you could develop esophageal cancer.
To put together a treatment plan, your doctor may start with an upper endoscopy. Thats a procedure where youre sedated, and a surgeon puts a scope through your mouth and into your esophagus and stomach to see if the acid has caused any damage. If theres no damage, you can likely have follow-up endoscopies when you have your colonoscopies. You can try prescription medications to control your GERD symptoms.
If your esophagus is damaged or inflamed, or if medication doesnt get your symptoms under control, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical treatments for GERD are very effective. They can give you significant relief and halt the progression of GERD, Dr. Graf said.
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Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach
When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food. Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage from the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.
There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but then normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.
Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis
What Is Acid Reflux
A circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter joins your esophagus and stomach. This muscle is in charge of tightening your esophagus after food passes to the stomach. If this muscle is weak or doesnt tighten properly, the acid from your stomach can move backward into your esophagus. This is known as acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other symptoms that include:
Most people can experience heartburn and acid reflux intermittently related to something they ate or habits like lying down immediately after eating. However, GERD is a chronic condition where doctors start to examine long-lasting habits and parts of a persons anatomy that could cause GERD. Examples of the causes of GERD include:
- being overweight or obese, which puts extra pressure on the stomach
- hiatal hernia, which reduces pressure in the LES
- consuming alcohol
- taking medicines known to weaken the LES, such as antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, pain-relieving medicines, sedatives, and antidepressants
Symptoms of GERD may disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, they can usually be controlled with treatment. Options include:
- diet modification
- smoking cessation
- alcohol cessation
Medications for GERD work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. They may not be effective for everyone. Some people need surgery to help reinforce the LES.
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How Many Carbohydrates Are Too Much
What should you reduce your total daily carbohydrate intake to? The average American diet now consists of 50-60% of calories from carbohydrates. Scientific studies suggest that you can greatly improved health if you reduce your carbohydrate intake to about less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day for women and men.
First start by reducing the larger amounts of carbohydrates from your diet start with the frequent servings of potatoes, rice and pasta and the sugar containing drinks. Replace these with more protein and low carbohydrate vegetables.
After a week or 2, count the grams of the remaining carbohydrates in your daily diets for a few days. You will quickly realize the high amount of carbohydrates you had been consuming on a regular basis.
Reducing your carbohydrate intake to less than 100 grams per day has a dramatic improvement in the diseases arising from insulin resistance as well as improving your neurological functioning. Your triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels improve, your blood pressure will be greatly reduced and your blood sugar levels will normalize as your bodys response to insulin to improves.
Check If You Have Acid Reflux
The main symptoms of acid reflux are:
- heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
- an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid
You may also have:
- a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
- a hoarse voice
Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.
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Not All Of Them Are Obvious
Feel like you just cant keep that nasty stuff in your belly from bubbling up into your throat? What youre experiencing might not be run-of-the-mill heartburn. It could be a case of gastroesophageal reflux diseaseGERD, for shorta condition that causes the acid and food in your stomach to rise into your esophagus, and sometimes even enter your mouth or lungs. GERD is far from rare: In fact, it occurs in 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the medical journal Gastroenterology. But there are also several factors that make some people an easier target for the disease.
Everyone has a small, normal amount of gastroesophageal reflux, but an abnormal amount of acid reflux occurs when the one-way valve between the esophagus and the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, becomes too loose, says Ketan Shah, M.D., gastroenterologist at Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. This can occur for multiple reasons that cause intra-abdominal pressure to be abnormally elevated, including being overweight or obese, frequent overeating, lying down too soon after eating, chronic straining or coughing, or chronic heavy lifting. These are typically the people who are more susceptible to GERD.
Heartburn won’t go away
Heart Attack Feeling
What Medicines Help Gerd
One kind of medicine that helps includes cimetidine , ranitidine , famotidine and nizatidine . You take this medicine two times a day.
Proton pump inhibitors also help they include omeprazole and lansoprazole . You take them once a day.
Another medicine that helps is sucralfate . You take it four times a day.
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What Causes Acid Reflux And Whom Does It Affect
The circular band of muscle at the bottom of the gullet normally prevents acid leaking up . Problems occur if the sphincter does not work very well. This is common but in most cases it is not known why it does not work so well. In some cases the pressure in the stomach rises higher than the sphincter can withstand – for example, during pregnancy, after a large meal, or when bending forward. If you have a hiatus hernia , you have an increased chance of developing reflux. See the separate leaflet called Hiatus Hernia for more details.
Most people have heartburn at some time, perhaps after a large meal. However, about 1 adult in 3 has some heartburn every few days, and nearly 1 adult in 10 has heartburn at least once a day. In many cases it is mild and soon passes. However, it is quite common for symptoms to be frequent or severe enough to affect quality of life. Regular heartburn is more common in smokers, pregnant women, heavy drinkers, those who are overweight and those aged between 35 and 64 years.
Milk: Enjoy Some Avoid Some
Most types of animal milk are high in tummy twisting lactosethat means goats or sheeps milk can be just as problematic as cows milk. Plant-based milks, such as coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk, are technically not milk at all and generally do not have any lactose. Some, however, including almond milk and soy milk, may contain other FODMAPs that harm your digestion.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Shortness Of Breath
Acid reflux shortness of breath often happens at night. It is caused by acid rising up in the back of the throat where it can enter the lungs and cause the airways to swell. This is the reason for acid reflux in lungs symptoms, such as coughing and choking.
Young adults with nocturnal reflux breathing problems are more likely to have asthma and respiratory symptoms . Researchers have also found a relationship between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome , a condition in which breathing can be interrupted during sleep, which affects the bodys oxygen levels.
Tomato And Tomato Products: Enjoy Some Avoid Some
Fresh and canned tomatoes are fine for your tummy. But tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomato that has excess fructose, a FODMAP that makes it a no-no except in small quantities. And tomato sauces? If theyre homemade, theyre fine to eat . Most commercial sauces have onions and garlic , added sugar , and salt , so steer clear of the store-bought variety.
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How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.
Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women
Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.
Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.
Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.
Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.
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