Heart Burn Information

If you are a living breathing human being you are at risk of having frequent heartburn. There are things that can make you more susceptible to heartburn such as eating spicy foods, drinking caffeine, or smoking, but other than that everyone is equally likely to get heartburn.

Heartburn also known as acid indigestion is a very common problem among Americans, as a matter of fact about 15 million Americans have heartburn one to two times each week. Heartburn is a painful burning sensation or a sour burning taste in the back of the throat.

Heartburn is caused by excess stomach acid that begins in the top of the stomach and climbs up into the throat. When the excess stomach acid, bile or digestive enzymes reach the esophagus it burns and can be seriously damaging to the esophagus if it continues over a long period of time.

The Risk Of Frequent Heartburn

If frequent heartburn if left untreated for a long period it can lead to other more serious illnesses such as: Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD, Esophagitis, Esophageal bleeding, Ulcers, Barrett’s esophagus, and a higher risk of esophageal cancer.

  • Heartburn becomes Gastro – esophageal reflux disease or GERD when the esophagus doesn’t work the way that it should and stomach liquids, acids, bile and such are allowed to rise up through the esophagus which in turn is damaged by those liquids.
  • Esophagitis – is inflammation of the esophagus caused by stomach repeatedly coming into contact with the lining of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal bleeding – is caused by extremely swollen veins in the lower part of the esophagus which is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
  • Barrett’s esophagus – is a serious problem that is often found in people who have chronic heartburn or GERD. However, people who don’t have GERD can develop Barrette’s esophagus. When a person has Barrett’s esophagus the cells in the lining of the esophagus become damaged and are replaced by abnormal cells.
  • Ulcers – are sores that occur in the lining of the esophagus and are caused by stomach liquids coming into contact with the lining of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal cancer – persons who have frequent heartburn could be at a higher risk for esophageal cancer. However, having frequent heartburn does not mean that one will have esophageal cancer or will even be at higher risk for esophageal cancer. It only means that one could possibly be at higher risk.

The Symptoms And Treatment For Frequent Heartburn

The symptoms of heartburn are easy to recognize and they are extremely uncomfortable. The most common symptom is a painful burning feeling in the back of the throat or the upper stomach. Sometimes that feeling is accompanied by a feeling af fullness or bloating.

Most often heartburn can be treated by simple over the counter medications that help to reduce the excess stomach acids. However there are times when over the counter medications just don’t work. When that happens your doctor can prescribe medications that will help. In very severe cases of different conditions that are caused by frequent heartburn surgery is sometimes recommended.

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