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What Is Heartburn And Acid Reflux

How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack

What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux?

Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.

Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.

If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.

What Problems Can Happen

Babies who have GER usually outgrow it by the time theyre 1 or 2 years old. But in some cases, GER symptoms last. Kids with developmental or neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, are more at risk for GER and can have more severe, lasting symptoms.

A steady reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus can lead to:

  • breathing problems
  • redness and irritation in the esophagus, a condition called esophagitis
  • bleeding in the esophagus
  • pneumonia
  • repeated asthma attacks

Because these complications can make eating painful, GER can interfere with proper nutrition. So if your child isn’t gaining weight as expected or is losing weight, talk with your doctor.

Measure Yourself On The Richter Scale/acid Test

How significant is your heartburn? What are the chances that it is something more serious? If you need a yardstick, here’s a simple self-test developed by a panel of experts from the American College of Gastroenterology.

Remember, if you have heartburn two or more times a week, or still have symptoms on your over-the-counter or prescription medicines, see your doctor.

Take this “Richter Scale/Acid Test” to see if you’re a GERD sufferer and are taking the right steps to treat it.

  • Do you frequently have one or more of the following:
  • an uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone that seems to be moving upward from the stomach?
  • a burning sensation in the back of your throat?
  • a bitter acid taste in your mouth?
  • Do you often experience these problems after meals?
  • Do you experience heartburn or acid indigestion two or more times per week?
  • Do you find that antacids only provide temporary relief from your symptoms?
  • Are you taking prescription medication to treat heartburn, but still having symptoms?
  • If you said yes to two or more of the above, you may have GERD. To know for sure, see your doctor or a gastrointestinal specialist. They can help you live pain free.

    Also Check: How To Treat Severe Heartburn

    Avoid Your Trigger Foods

    You may have already discovered that certain foods can trigger your heartburn and reflux symptoms. Try keeping a food and symptom diary to help you identify foods that worsen your reflux, so you know what to stay away from.

    Here are some common food triggers:

    • Mint
    • Tomatoes and tomato-based foods

    Some people find that sweets, high-glycemic index foods , and meals that are too hot may trigger heartburn.

    Causes Of Heartburn & Acid Reflux

    How Should you Sleep if you have Acid Reflux?

    When food or drink is consumed, it passes from the mouth, down the oesophagus into the stomach. A muscular ring which joins the oesophagus to the stomach should ensure that this flow is one way. Acid reflux occurs when this one-way system fails. Then whatever happens to be in your stomach travels in the wrong direction back up into the oesophagus. The stomach makes acid, which aids digestion by breaking down food and drink. Whilst the stomach can resist acid, if it refluxes in sufficient quantities into the oesophagus, it will cause pain . Sometimes the lining of the oesophagus can become inflamed . If the inflammation is severe, ulcers can form.

    Lifestyle Factors: There are certain factors which appear to increase the risk of heartburn and reflux. These include:

    • Smoking
    • Stooping or bending forwards
    • Excess Body weight.

    Pregnancy: Many women can develop heartburn during the later stages of pregnancy as the growing baby pushes upwards on the stomach. The symptoms will often go once the baby is born but can continue afterwards.

    Hiatus Hernia: A hiatus hernia is when part of the stomach slides upwards into the chest by pushing itself through a hole in the diaphragm muscle . The hernia itself rarely causes any symptoms but it does seem to make reflux more likely. For those people who have a large hiatus hernia, surgery may be required.

    Read Also: Good Foods To Eat When You Have Heartburn

    Whats The Difference Between Acid Reflux Heartburn & Gerd

    DerrickonJanuary 2, 2022

    Do you remember those antacid commercials where someone is in a restaurant eating something decadent and suddenly clutches their chest and winces? It was a bit dramatic, but it stuck in my head. As someone who gets both heartburn and acid reflux, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Add in the potential for gastroesophageal reflux disease , and itâs a jumble of stress.

    This article will help you decipher the difference between all three and learn some quick home remedies.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Why Do You Get Heartburn All The Time

    Gaviscon A Different Kind Of Acid Reflux Treatment

    Although hes not a senior, my son swears by Gaviscon.

    This product creates a protective barrier between the top of your stomach and your esophagus .

    This barrier prevents stomach acid from splashing back up into your esophagus, essentially performing the function of your Lower Esophageal Sphincter . Blocking acid reflux, in turn, prevents the painful sensation of heartburn.

    The foam is activated when it comes into contact with stomach acid.

    The Alginic acid in Gaviscon® tablets is derived from extract of brown seaweed. The raw material source is 100% natural, non-toxic and safe for human consumption. .

    What Causes Heartburn And What Does It Feel Like Exactly

    What Is Acid Reflux?

    Stomach acid is needed to break down the food you eat, something your stomach has no trouble handling. Your esophagus, on the other hand, is irritated by it.

    To keep stomach acid in your stomach and out of your esophagus, a circular ring of muscle at the tube’s base, called the lower esophageal sphincter, acts as a valve. When this valve is relaxed, food you’ve consumed is allowed to pass through to your stomach. When contracted, this valve prevents this food and acid from backing up into your esophagus.

    If this valve relaxes abnormally and stomach acid is allowed to travel back into your esophagus, acid reflux occurs. Heartburn is the most well-known and obvious symptom.

    It can feel differently depending on its severity, but heartburn symptoms include:

    • A burning sensation in your chest, behind your breastbone
    • Burning pain that rises up toward your throat
    • Having a bitter or sour taste in your mouth

    Acid reflux and heartburn are sometimes caused by an underlying medical condition, or even a medication you’re taking in some cases. But, more often than not, they’re triggered by things like your diet and lifestyle choices making the occasional bout of heartburn fairly common.

    Common triggers of heartburn include:

    • Overeating or eating too quickly
    • Lying down too soon after eating
    • Consuming certain foods, including caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, peppermint, citrus, tomato-based products, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
    • Being overweight
    • Stress and anxiety

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    How Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Diagnosed

    In older kids, doctors usually diagnose reflux by doing an exam and hearing about the symptoms. If your child has GER symptoms, try to keep track of the foods that seem to cause them. This can help the doctor figure out what’s going on.

    In younger children and babies, doctors might run these tests to diagnose GER or rule out other problems:

    • Upper GI radiology study. This special X-ray can show liquid backing into the esophagus, irritation or narrowing of the esophagus, and any upper digestive tract problems. For the test, your child will swallow a small amount of a chalky liquid . This liquid appears on the X-ray and shows the swallowing process.
    • 24-hour impedance-ph probe study. This is the most accurate way to detect reflux and how often its happening. A thin, flexible tube goes through the nose into the esophagus. The tip rests just above the esophageal sphincter for 24 hours to check acid levels in the esophagus and to detect any reflux.
    • Milk scans. This series of X-ray scans tracks a special liquid as a child swallows it. The scans can show whether the stomach is slow to empty liquids and whether the refluxed liquid is being inhaled into the lungs.
    • Upper endoscopy. Doctors look at the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestines using a tiny fiber-optic camera. They also may take a small tissue sample of the lining of the esophagus to rule out or find other problems.

    Foods That May Cause Heartburn

    Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:

    • Fried food
    • Peppermint
    • Carbonated beverages

    “Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”

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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

    Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd

    What is acid reflux? Definite cure for acid reflux (June ...

    GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.

    • Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
    • LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux

    Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. People with heartburn feel a burning sensation inside their chest. Heartburn often occurs after consuming a meal. The feeling of heartburn can get more intense during the night.

    The location of heartburn discomfort can cause some people to believe they might be having a heart attack. If symptoms of heartburn fail to clear up after taking medication, you should seek immediate medical attention.

    Ten common symptoms that people with GERD or other forms of acid reflux experience include:

    • Problems swallowing
    • The feeling of a lump in your throat
    • Regurgitating food or sour liquids
    • The onset of or worsening of asthma

    What Can Trigger Heartburn

    Certain foods and beverages can trigger heartburn in individuals. These include but are not limited to spicy foods, onions, citrus products, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, and fried foods. Additionally, individuals who are pregnant or overweight may also have a higher risk of experiencing heartburn.

    Read Also: Heartburn And Indigestion At Night

    What Are The Usual Symptoms Of Heartburn & Acid Reflux

    Heartburn often seems worse after rich meals, citrus fruit juice, hot beverages or alcohol. Occasionally it can be felt deeply within the chest, almost within the back although sometimes the burning feeling can reach all the way up to the throat2. Some patients notice acid reflux when some of the contents of their stomach repeat by coming back up the oesophagus as far as the throat or even the mouth. A few patients notice discomfort or pain as they swallow and may often experience frequent throat clearing, coughing and choking. It is quite common for these symptoms to be worse at night or when lying down.

    For most people with the condition, heartburn and reflux is just a nuisance and little more than that. In a few people, especially where there is severe inflammation of the oesophagus, there is a risk of complications. These can include internal bleeding and narrowing of the gullet. One in ten people with acid reflux have Barretts Oesophagus12, 13. This is a condition that can, very rarely, progress to cancer of the lower oesophagus. If you are worried about these complications, discuss them with your GP.

    What Triggers Heartburn

    Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD-Mayo Clinic

    Heartburn can be triggered by a lot of things, but eating is the main culprit. It can be caused by the specific foods you eatwe’re looking at you, greasy fries and hot wingsas well as by eating too much, or simply eating a big, heavy meal close to bedtime.

    Carbonated and alcoholic beverages can also give you heartburn. People who are overweight often suffer from heartburn. Even a few extra pounds can put pressure on your stomach, causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

    Read Also: How To Use Baking Soda For Heartburn

    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.

    Follow A Low Carb Diet

    Growing evidence suggests that low carb diets may relieve acid reflux symptoms.

    In fact, some researchers suspect that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflux (

    Summary

    Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you experience heartburn, limiting your alcohol intake might help ease some of your discomfort.

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    What Are The Long

    Long-term acid reflux may lead to GERD, which is a more chronic form of acid reflux. Over time, this can damage the esophagus, leading to a condition known as Barrettâs esophagus, which is typically a precursor to esophageal cancer. On average, less than 10% of GERD patients have some form of esophageal cancer.

    Can Gerd Cause Asthma

    Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and GERD: Symptoms, Causes and ...

    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.

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    Give Yourself A Buffer Before Bedtime

    If you lay down immediately after eating, itâs going to be easier for acid to flow back up. Thatâs why we recommend eating your last meal of the day two to three hours before bedtime. You can even develop a bedtime routine with activities like meditation thatâll make your mind and body even more relaxed.

    How A Doctor Can Help

    If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.

    GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.

    The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center

    GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.

    Read Also: How To Get Over Heartburn

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