Heartburn is not at all a medical condition that has to do with the heart. The name comes from the fact that some of the symptoms that accompany heartburn are very similar to those someone has when experiencing a heart attack. In reality, heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus determined by stomach acid. The symptoms are located in the upper abdomen, or just under the breast bone.
The stomach acid is kept inside the stomach with the help of a valve that is called the lower esophageal sphincter, which is located at the very place where the esophagus meets the stomach, below the ribs and a little bit left. When this valve functions well, it opens just to let the food get into the stomach or to let the air get out. During the rest of the time, the valve remains closed. When it opens too often or does not stay closed as it should, stomach acid get into the esophagus and the patient may feel a burning sensation. Chronic heartburn or gastro esophageal reflux can sometimes cause serious health problems.
Hospital CEO Louis Kraml states that heartburn is very common in pregnant women; it is also a problem for people that eat a lot. Supersized servings, fatty products, late night meals are all directly linked to the symptoms of heartburn. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onion, chocolate, coffee and alcohol may determine a relaxation of the valve. Heartburn is also caused by certain medications, stress and lack of sleep. Smoking is a factor that contributes to the relaxation of the esophageal valve.
There are several things one can do in order to prevent heartburn. First, do not go to bed with a full stomach. All doctors advise that the last meal should be digested at least two or three hours before going to bed. This way the food will leave the stomach and, as a consequence, the acid levels have enough time to decrease until it is the time to go to bed for the night.
Another thing recommended by the specialists is to reduce the food quantities, as well as to eat as slowly as possible, and even try to get used to put down the fork between the bites. Once a person finds out that he or she is having this problem, it would be wise to stay away from the foods that cause the appearance of the heartburn symptoms.
Overweight persons are known to have problems with heartburn, so losing some weight would be a perfect decision in order to relieve some of the symptoms. If the person is an active one and the symptoms appear right after doing the exercises, it would be a good decision to eat at least two hours before doing the physical exercises. Drinking plenty of water has also been proved to be helpful.
An interesting study has showed the fact that chewing gum after a meal is capable of reducing heartburn symptoms, aiding in the gastro esophageal reflux disease.
When a person eats foods rapidly, the risk of acid reflux increases a lot. When nothing changes in the diet and eating habits, heartburn can lead to other severe medical conditions like narrowing esophagus, bleeding and Barrett's esophagus. For more health related information, check out Louis Kraml’s health articles on Hitsville.
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