What Are The Health Consequences Of Gerd
Chronic reflux and GERD can cause serious complications. These include inflammation and ulcers of the esophagus, scar tissue that narrows the esophagus, spasms affecting the airway, chronic cough, damage to teeth, and exacerbated asthma symptoms.
In about 10-20% of cases of GERD, damage to the esophagus from stomach acid becomes a condition called Barrett esophagus. Barrett esophagus is considered to be the primary risk factor for esophageal cancer although not everyone with the condition develops cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gerd
Heartburn, which involves a painful burning sensation in the chest, is the most common symptom of GERD, but not all cases of GERD involve heartburn.
Another common symptom of GERD is regurgitation, which means a small amount of stomach acid and sometimes bits of food come up into the mouth or back of the throat.
When leaks of stomach acid rise to the mouth and throat, it can cause coughing and a feeling of choking. It may cause a sore throat, including a hoarse voice. Some patients experience difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, or the feeling of something blocking their throat.
On top of the discomfort from heartburn, GERD can cause radiating chest pain that can affect the neck, back, jaw, or arms and last for minutes to hours. This symptom is frequently associated with nighttime awakenings for people with GERD.
Benefits Of Propping Up Your Body
Has your doctor recommended that you sleep at an incline using a bed wedge or putting blocks under your bed frame? Studies show that sleeping at an incline decreases reflux symptoms and allows your body to get stomach acid back to your stomach quicker 8. As long as your entire torso is elevated , sleeping at an incline gives gravity a power boost to return stomach acid to your stomach and keep it there.
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Big Meals And Eating Certain Foods
The occasional episode of acid reflux may also just be the result of a little more acid production than usual perhaps brought on by a particularly large meal or your sensitivity to certain foods.
And if you lie down before all your food is digested, you run the risk of having some of that excess acid leak through the sphincter.
Regardless of the cause of your acid reflux, lying down whether its at night or during the day is bound to worsen symptoms and prolong the time it will take your body to digest your food completely.
What Exactly Is Heartburn Anyway
Heartburnor gastroesophageal reflux or acid refluxis a painful burning feeling in your chest or your throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine .
Basically, heartburn happens when your esophagus relaxes too much and stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . It can be managed by making changes to your diet, like cutting back on coffee and alcohol, or through medications.
Having heartburn every once in a while, like after a spicy meal or taking a nap too soon after eating, is normal but if it occurs more than twice a week for more than a few weeks, it’s time to see a doctorin that case, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic, sometimes damaging form of heartburn.
But GERD isn’t the only issue that is related to heartburn. Many other conditionssome even life-threateningcan mimic the feeling of heartburn. Here, nine other conditions that heartburn could be masquerading asand when to see your doctor about it.
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Reasons For Getting Heartburn Every Day
Heartburn that happens occasionally is considered normal, but when we start experiencing it daily, it becomes a major problem.
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The Thyroid Is Not Working Properly
Although a medical blood test administered by your doctor may not reveal any clinical, or even sub-clinical thyroid difficulty, a thyroid needing re-balancing could show up as acid reflux at night.
This is because thyroid hormone turns on everything in the body, or revs it up might like a car’s accelerator.
Usually however, the thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH measured with a blood test would show some needed improvement.
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Know Your Medication Side Effects
Certain medications may contribute to GERD. Some common ones include:
- anticholinergics, which treat, among other conditions, overactive bladder and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
- tricyclic antidepressants
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
If these or other medications are causing acid reflux or other symptoms, tell your doctor. Alternative treatments may be available.
Different Stages Of Sleep
A sleep cycle goes through stages that consist of two basic states: non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep. Each stage of the cycle is vital to getting a good nights rest.
- Stage 1: This is a brief stage a sleep between being awake and fully asleep. This stage is characterized by slowed muscle activity.
- Stage 2: The second stage of sleep is when the body temperature drops, brain waves become slower, and the breathing and heart rate stay regular.
- Stage 34: The most restorative sleep occurs during these stages. The breathing slows down, the blood pressure drops, and activity stops in the muscles. Energy is restored and repair to tissue occurs. Hormones for growth and development are also released in this stage.
- Stage 5: The only stage of REM sleep is stage 5. Breathing becomes rapid and irregular. The heart rate increases and the blood pressure rises. This stage gives energy to the body and the brain as the muscles are even more relaxed. It is in this stage that dreams occur. Studies also suggest that REM sleep stimulates the part of the brain used for learning and memory.
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How To Sleep With Acid Reflux
Nights are a different story, even with the best bedtime rituals. And, depending on how you are sleeping, your esophagus can actually be below your stomach allowing acid to freely flow out and then just sit in your esophagus, lungs, throat, and sinuses. This is not good for your body. Over time acid pooling in your esophagus can cause severe damage, such as peptic ulcers, strictures, and in more extreme cases Barretts Esophagus. In fact, if you have acid reflux at night, there is an 11-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer than those without nighttime acid reflux2.
You dont have to sleep sitting up to take advantage of gravity and anatomy at night. You arent a giraffe after all. How you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how bad those symptoms are, and how long the acid sits in your esophagus. The good news is that you can drastically change your nights by changing the way you sleep.
How To Treat Nighttime Heartburn Symptoms
For nighttime heartburn relief, elevate your head and chest upright in bed, lie on your left side, or try standing up. Raising your upper body can naturally help the stomach acid move down the digestive system and reduce heartburn symptoms.
If occasional heartburn symptoms persist, they can be treated with over the counter medications, such as PEPCID®. PEPCID® is a Histamine-2 blocker, with the active ingredient famotidine, which can help relieve heartburn by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. It works fast and will help to control acid all night*. If you do not have OTC heartburn medications readily available, learn more about easy ways to manage with at-home heartburn remedies.
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How Does Heartburn Impact Sleep
Research shows that over 60% of people suffering from heartburn or another reflux-related disease report disruptions in their sleep. People with heartburn symptoms are often unable to comfortably fall into a sleep state or are unable to stay asleep due to the painful, burning sensation in their chest.
40% of people with heartburn and sleep issues report that their sleep disruption directly impacts their overall functioning the following day. Heartburn may cause a cycle of poor sleep in which heartburn disrupts sleep, which increases fatigue. Fatigue increases unhealthy eating choices. These foods further increase heartburn symptoms, which increases stress and leads to even poorer sleep.
Once youre in the cycle of heartburn-related poor sleep, it can feel overwhelming. However, there are many ways you can reduce heartburn with small, daily lifestyle changes.
How Do You Get Rid Of Heartburn
Studies show that reducing overall body weight has a positive impact on reducing heartburn symptoms. Eating a diet full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables can help lower your overall body mass. Exercising regularly, even just taking a walk around your neighborhood, can also help you lower body weight, and help you sleep . Cutting back on smoking, caffeine intake, and alcohol consumption significantly reduces heartburn attacks and also promotes better sleep.
Antacids, an over-the-counter medication, can manage mild heartburn symptoms by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. They are effective in reducing symptoms but require frequent administering and should not be taken longer than a few days.
Check with your doctor before starting any medication. If over-the-counter medication does not help, your doctor may be able to prescribe additional medication.
What Research Is Being Done To Better Understand And Treat Hoarseness
Researchers funded by the NIDCD are working with teachers to devise strategies to help them reduce the stress and strain on their voices. In one study, the teachers use a voice “dosimeter” that takes into account the frequency and loudness of their speech along with the duration of vibration in their vocal folds to determine their daily “dose” of vocal use. The researcher hopes to establish a safe level of voice use, as well as recommended recovery times from prolonged speaking.
In another study, researchers are working with two groups of student teachers in the United States and China to test the effectiveness of voice hygiene education on its own and with voice production training. The researcher hopes to see how successfully the techniques prevent future voice problems in teachers who have healthy voices at the beginning of the study versus those who already may have some voice problems.
The NIDCD also is supporting a researcher who is planning to make a “map” of all of the genes, proteins, immune system cells, and bacteria present in the normal larynx so that we can better understand the changes that happen during chronic inflammation of the larynx . Using these findings, models will be made that can be used in the lab to develop and direct future interventions for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases of the larynx.
How To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux With Home Remedies
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How Does Our Voice Work
The sound of our voice is produced by vibration of the vocal folds, which are two bands of smooth muscle tissue that are positioned opposite each other in the larynx. The larynx is located between the base of the tongue and the top of the trachea, which is the passageway to the lungs .
When we’re not speaking, the vocal folds are open so that we can breathe. When it’s time to speak, however, the brain orchestrates a series of events. The vocal folds snap together while air from the lungs blows past, making them vibrate. The vibrations produce sound waves that travel through the throat, nose, and mouth, which act as resonating cavities to modulate the sound. The quality of our voiceits pitch, volume, and toneis determined by the size and shape of the vocal folds and the resonating cavities. This is why people’s voices sound so different.
Individual variations in our voices are the result of how much tension we put on our vocal folds. For example, relaxing the vocal folds makes a voice deeper tensing them makes a voice higher.
Why Do I Get Heartburn When I Havent Eaten: The Nine Reasons
Growing up, you probably heard your parents talk about heartburn when it would affect them.
Unfortunately, as you age, at some point, it started to affect you, too.
Heartburn is something that nearly everyone in the world has experienced at one time or another, and usually, people know what they ate that caused them that kind of grief.
Typically, we link heartburn to foods that we eat and the beverages we consume.
Sometimes, though, unique situations can occur, and you will get heartburn that leaves you wondering, Why do I get heartburn when I havent eaten anything that might have triggered it?
At the very minimum, we assume that the parts of our body that cause heartburn are only in action whenever our body is processing food.
What is going on when we get heartburn when we havent eaten?
We will give you nine potential reasons why the fiery feeling is plaguing you in your chest despite not having eaten anything.
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Prone To Heartburn At Night Here Are 4 Ways To Avoid It
Youre tossing. Youre turning. And your chest is achy and burning. The haunt of nighttime heartburn strikes again, robbing you of the solid nights rest you need. Ugh, why did I eat those nachos right before bed?!
If youve ever experienced nighttime heartburn, you know that it can be quite a nightmare. Not only are you suffering through those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, but youre also losing precious shut-eye, which can leave you groggy and tired the next day.
Why Is Heartburn More Common at Night?
Acid reflux occurs when the digestive acid thats naturally in your stomach backs up into the esophagusa condition that can often be caused by heartburn-triggering food and eating habits. Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux.
Heartburn is more common at night because when youre lying down you dont have gravity to pull the acid down and keep it in your stomach, which is why many people experience nighttime symptoms, says Roshini Raj, MD, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health and co-founder of healthy living brand Tula.
Tips to Avoid Nighttime Heartburn
Experiencing heartburn at night can affect how well you sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with a whole host of health issues, so you really want to make sure youre doing everything you can to ensure a good nights sleep, says Dr. Raj. Here are Dr. Rajs tips on how to deal with nighttime heartburn.
Does Heartburn Impact Mental Health
Heartburn symptoms can be distressing and painful. Although heartburn does not cause mental health disorders, there does appear to be a link between heartburn and an increase in depression and anxiety .
Heartburn symptoms can include chest pains. Heartburn patients report an increase in anxiety when experiencing chest pains. Depression and stress are known to impact the gastrointestinal system, and therefore may make heartburn worse. Additionally, heartburn can cause disruptions in sleep and there is evidence that poor sleep impacts mental health as well.
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Why Is Nighttime Heartburn More Dangerous
Day or night, chronic reflux can gradually damage the esophagus. It may lead to inflammation and scar tissue that narrows the esophagus. In some people, chronic heartburn can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, changes in the cells that increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
But nighttime heartburn tends to leave acid in the esophagus longer, and therefore may cause more damage than daytime heartburn.
“A good part of the explanation is gravity,” says Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, co-author of Healing Heartburn and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. During the day, acids from the stomach may briefly force their way into your esophagus. But gravity quickly pulls them back down to the stomach.
When you’re lying down, gravity isn’t pulling in the right direction. Instead, the stomach contents are pressing on the sphincter muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. In people with GERD – which means nearly everyone with chronic heartburn – the sphincter is faulty. It doesn’t fully close. So acids can reflux back up into the esophagus. And because you’re lying down, once acids get into the esophagus, they can sit there for much longer than during the day. That can increase the damage.