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Can Heartburn Be A Sign Of Something Serious

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How Can I Prevent Heartburn

GERD: How Heartburn Can Turn into Something More

Follow these tips to prevent heartburn:

  • Avoid foods or activities that may cause your symptoms.
  • You can also take an over-the-counter medication, such as a chewable antacid tablet, before you eat to prevent heartburn before symptoms start.
  • Ginger snacks or ginger tea are also helpful home remedies that you can buy in many stores.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid alcohol and tobacco.
  • Try to avoid snacking late at night. Instead, stop eating at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Rather than two or three large meals, eat smaller meals more frequently to ease the impact on your digestive system.

Last medically reviewed on March 16, 2016

Symptoms Of Gerd: How Do Doctors Diagnose Gerd

Since heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, most doctors try to determine if GERD is the cause of a patients problems by offering a medication to stop acid reflux.

If the medication works then its usually safe to assume that the person was suffering from heartburn as a result of GERD .

This method on its own often isnt enough however, since there are other causes of heartburn which can be treated in this way this test on its own doesnt confirm 100% that GERD is the problem, so usually other tests are carried out as well.

The point made above in relation to GERD coughs also indicates why this method doesnt always work, since the heartburn symptom isnt always present in every GERD case.

How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn

Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:

  • Pepcid AC®.
  • Tagamet HB®.

Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.

Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.

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When Heartburn Gets Serious

Ignoring heartburn — just putting up with it, popping a few pills day after day — isn’t necessarily the best plan. There are complications that can result from letting the problem linger.

“When heartburn is not appropriately treated, acid reflux can cause erosion and ulcers in the lining of the esophagus,” says William C. Orr, PhD, a clinical professor of medicine and specialist in gastrointestinal disorders at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

“It’s extremely painful and greatly affects the patient’s lifestyle,” he tells WebMD. “It really alters very significantly the quality of life.”

Long-term acid reflux can cause scarring and narrowing in the esophagus, which can also lead to swallowing difficulties, Radhika Srinivasan, MD, a gastrointestinal specialist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, tells WebMD.

This condition, called esophageal strictures, can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach. Strictures are treated by dilation, in which an instrument gently stretches the strictures and expands the opening in the esophagus.

In fairly rare cases, chronic acid reflux can also cause a pre-cancerous condition called “Barrett’s esophagus,” she adds. Barrett’s esophagus is a result of the chronic acid reflux into the esophagus causing dangerous changes in the cells that line the esophagus — these cells can become cancerous.

Identifying Symptoms Of Gerd In Children

Can heartburn be a sign of something serious?

It can be hard to pick up on the symptoms of GERD in a young child as the symptoms can differ from those experienced by adults.

If you have a baby or toddler who cant yet speak enough to describe symptoms to you, here are some of the visual indicators to keep an eye out for:

  • Regurgitation and vomiting these are amongst the most common symptoms in babies
  • Coughing
  • Fussy behavior
  • Burping
  • Heartburn

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Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own

For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.

Antacids Or Otc Drugs Dont Help

If antacid medications stop working to soothe your heartburn, or if they never worked in the first place, your heartburn may have progressed to GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. With GERD, the stomach acid washing up into your esophagus that causes the burning sensation essentially goes out of control, and untreated GERD can lead to further problems like dyspepsia and esophagitis.

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Heartburn ‘possible Cancer Sign’ Warning

A health campaign is urging people not to ignore heartburn, because it could be a sign of stomach or oesophageal cancer.

According to Public Health England, people should go to their doctor if they have persistent heartburn or difficulty swallowing food for three weeks or more.

But it said most people were not aware of the symptoms.

Stomach and oesophageal cancers are the fifth most common cancers in England.

PHE figures show that around 12,900 people in England are diagnosed with these cancers each year and approximately 10,000 people die from the diseases annually.

Yet, around 950 lives could be saved each year if survival rates for oesophago-gastric cancers matched the best in Europe, it says.

What Does Heartburn Feel Like

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Heartburn is an uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone, with a burning sensation or sometimes even pain. The discomfort can move upwards causing burning in the throat.1 Heartburn may also cause a sour or bitter taste at the back of your mouth or throat, which may also make you feel nauseated. Heartburn may last for a few minutes or a few hours. It is often noted after a heavy meal or bending or lying down soon after a meal.

While occasional heartburn is common, often occurring due to some faulty dietary or lifestyle habits, frequent heartburn may be a cause of concern. Repeated heartburn could be due to acid reflux, which itself is a risk factor associated with other gastroesophageal conditions. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak and gets relaxed when not needed.2 Normally, this sphincter closes the opening and does not allow the stomach acid to enter the esophagus. However, when the LES relaxes when not needed, it allows the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. The regurgitation of stomach contents and acid into the esophagus results in a burning pain in the chest and throat region.

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Signs Your Heartburn Could Be A More Serious Issue

Every day, millions of people experience an unpleasant heartburn sensation after eating a meal. For many, this experience happens once in a blue moon, or only after they eat a specific combination of foods. For others, their heartburn could be a sign of a more serious medical problem lying just beneath the surface. But how can you know whether your heartburn is just something to keep an eye on, or suggestive that you seek out medical intervention? Below, we talk about seven signs that suggest your heartburn could be a symptom of a larger medical problem.

  • Difficulty Swallowing When heartburn is paired with difficulty swallowing, its an indication that the patient may be dealing with esophagitis. This involves an inflammation of the esophageal tissue, and its often an indicator of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Difficulty Breathing Similar to the above point, if heartburn is accompanied by difficulty breathing or an inability to catch your breath, you should visit a physician. It could be a sign of a hiatal hernia or a more severe health condition.
  • Consistent Coughing If you have heartburn and a cough that just wont seem to go away, youll want to visit a doctor. Theres a chance youre actually dealing with problems caused by a hiatal hernia, which needs medical intervention.
  • If youre experiencing any of these symptoms alongside your heartburn, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bhattis office today.

    Its Interfering With Your Life

    For any symptom, its a good idea to get in touch with your doctor if its having a negative impact on your life. If your heartburn is persistent and isnt helped by medications, is causing you to modify your lifestyle to deal with the pain, or is keeping you from sleeping, working, or relaxing, its time to figure out whats really going on. Not only will it preserve your health in the long run, but youll feel better, too.

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    Serious Conditions That Mimic Heartburn

    In a previous blog post, we discussed several serious health conditions that could be signaled by chronic heartburn: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease , Barretts Esophagus and esophageal cancer.

    Lets continue the discussion with six more medical conditions that cause pain that mimics the sensations you feel with heartburn.

    What Exactly Is Heartburn Anyway

    What Causes Heartburn? (Heartburn Causes & Symptoms ...

    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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    Look Beyond Chest Pain Symptoms

    When you have a heart attack, its because one of the coronary arteries that provide blood to the heart is;blocked. The blockage obstructs the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.

    When you think of a heart attack, you may picture a person;clutching their;chest and collapsing from sudden, severe pain.;But the symptoms of a heart attack;often are much more subtle. This is especially true for women, Dr. Abdallah says.

    A;study by researchers at the University of British Columbia showed women are slightly less;likely than men to experience chest pain during a heart attack.

    Instead, they often suffer from subtle symptoms such as:

    • Pain in the arms, neck or jaw.
    • Sweating or cold sweat.
    • Feelings of fullness, indigestion or choking .
    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Lightheadedness, dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety.

    People;with diabetes who are having a heart attack often have atypical or minimal symptoms, Dr. Abdallah says. If you have diabetes, you should seek medical attention for even slight chest or stomach pain or;discomfort.

    What Happens When You Have Heartburn

    While its name suggests otherwise, heartburn has no impact on;your heart.

    Heartburn, or acid indigestion, happens when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. It causes an uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat.

    The esophagus is located close to the heart, so its often difficult for people to distinguish where the pain is coming from, Dr. Abdallah says.

    This is why its important for a doctor to rule out a heart attack if over-the-counter antacids dont work or if you experience the less pronounced symptoms, he says.

    If left untreated, heartburn can cause more serious problems such as inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems,;chronic cough or even cancer.

    The good news: Several types of over-the-counter medicines are available to treat heartburn.

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    Lifestyle Changes To Control Gerd

    The ACS suggests you can make simple lifestyle changes in order to control GERD. Increasing your physical activity is one, but many have to do with what, when and how much you eat.

    Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, eat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day, avoid eating two to three hours before going to bed, and eat far less spicy or acidic foods.

    While youre at it, you can try cutting down smoking or quitting it altogether, and reducing or discontinuing the consumption of alcohol. You can also try an antacid or an over-the-counter proton pump inhibitor designed to reduce stomach acid.

    Antacids For Neutralizing Stomach Acid

    Acid reflux disease (GERD) symptoms and treatments – Heartburn remedies

    When it comes to heartburn, medicines such as antacids are available over the counter and can be quite effective. These medicines work by simply neutralizing stomach acid. There can be a bit of a double-edged sword in this case though.

    If youre suffering from regular heartburn and you rely on antacids to relieve the pain, youre not dealing with the underlying problem and damage may still be occurring to your esophagus .

    To avoid developing more serious GERD-related problems, you should seek medical help to get treatment for the actual causes of the problem.

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    You Have A Chronic Cough

    Coughing can be caused by anything from a cold to asthma, so it can be difficult to determine whether or not its related to your heartburn. But, if you have a persistent cough that wont go away in addition to heartburn, the two may be making each other worse. Because untreated heartburn can damage the lining of your esophagus, it can often lead to heartburn. Likewise, untreated coughing can damage your esophagus leading to heartburn!

    What Are The Next Steps

    Treatment may be as simple as tinkering with the type of medication, dosage or timing. If medication changes dont resolve anything, your doctor might refer you to a gastroenterologist. Your gastroenterologist may perform an upper endoscopy procedure to view the stomach and esophagus. This will help determine whether you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD is often characterized by acid reflux that occurs at least once or twice per week.

    If somebody does have significant reflux and they feel like its life-limiting, Aher said, thats the time to start thinking about surgical options. If you do require intervention, know that there are innovative surgical procedures with minimal side effects.

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    How Do You Debloat

    Quick Tips On How To Debloat In 3 To 5 DaysTip #2: Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Eat turmeric and ginger, suggests Watts. Tip #3: Mind your food intolerances. Watts says its important to watch out for discomfort after eating specific foods. Tip #4: Watch your fiber intake. Tip #5: Take probiotics. Tip #7: Drink water or tea. Tip #8: Eat Mindfully.Dec 8, 2020

    Differences Between Symptoms Of Heartburn And Heart Attack

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    It can sometimes be difficult to know if symptoms are due to a heart attack or heartburn. Doctors often find making a diagnosis based on symptoms alone difficult and rely on tests.

    Sometimes even doctors can find their symptoms difficult to understand. A doctor at Harvard, for example, has told his story of heart disease.

    He had a burning symptom in his upper belly whenever he exercised, but treatments for heartburn did not help.

    It was not until he became breathless and unable to carry on that he sought medical help. Tests revealed heart disease that was close to causing a heart attack.

    The main difference between symptoms is that:

    • Heartburn tends to be worse after eating and when lying down, but a heart attack can happen after a meal, too.
    • Heartburn can be relieved by drugs that reduce acid levels in the stomach.
    • Heartburn does not cause more general symptoms, such as breathlessness.
    • Heart attack does not cause bloating or belching, but these can happen with heartburn.

    following symptoms should call 911 at once:

    • Chest pain or discomfort, such as pressure, squeezing, pain, or fullness that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back again
    • Pain or discomfort in other parts of the body, for example, one or both arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach
    • Shortness of breath, before or with chest discomfort
    • Cold sweat
    • Other signs: Feeling unusually tired

    All these symptoms can affect both men and women, but:

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    Most Common Symptoms Of Gerd

    Lets start by running through the most common symptoms of GERD. Well then focus in on some of the more severe GERD symptoms.

    Once you know these GERD Symptoms well youll be able to take the actions you need to relieve yourself quickly, as well as having the peace of mind of knowing when your symptoms are bad enough for you to need medical assistance.

    Here are some of the most common symptoms of GERD:

    • Indigestion
    • Heartburn
    • A sour, acidic taste in the mouth

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