What is Heart Burn or Acid Reflex?

How common it is with in the population?

Detail guidelines provided by American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) they say. 

Heart Burn is quite common among adult population. 

By Mahmood Hussain, Monday 20th May 2019, the article is written for www.babyfirst.com.pk   BABY FIRST PAKISTAN and on Facebook.babyfirstPakistan and other social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. Writer Mahmood Hussain is from Karachi Pakistan currently in Dubai for Ramadan and Eid to be celebrated with younger son, his wife and Zaynab the lovable and adorable granddaughter..

ACG report in USA more than 60 million inhabitant experience heart burn once a month. Furthermore in some studies with in USA which report that more than: 

15 million citizen face heart burn symptom each day with in USA

This figure translate into nearly 5% of US population suffer daily from this symptom.  

Heartburn symptoms can be recognize in case of excessive acid flow back into the esophagus from stomach. The sufferer experience the feel of acid reflux with in mouth or esophagus which have the feel of bitter or sour taste within the mouth.

Heart burn symptom also refer as acid reflux or acid indigestion. The symptom of heart burn is quite common within the elderly population of either sex and during pregnancy. 

The bitter feel and the symptom of heart burn or acid reflux felt in mouth.  This feel may last for few hours. This feel strengthen and become worse after taking the meal.  

Heat burn feeling, if occur occasionally which is common among the adult population but it is not listed in this category. 

In case of the frequent heart burn which may be twice or thrice a week, in this condition it is observe food is sticky, having blood  and weight loss, If these condition are observe  which mean a serious problem. Consult your physician, because it’s reflects a case of Gastro-Esophageal Reflex Disease (GERD).

Causes of Heartburn & Acid Reflex.

This condition arises due to consumption of some common food and drink, which trigger increase of secretion of stomach acid.

Consumption of high fat food diet and smoking which tends to affect the function of Lower

Esophageal Sphincter which is refer by the doctor as (LES) this part is attach to the upper part of stomach. This causes relaxation in from the stomach upper side and this allows acid to pass towards esophagus and feel the pinch of acid in mouth.

The risk factors trigger in increasing the acid production with in the stomach and also structure changes observe within upper GI tract. This will result in acid reflux in the esophagus and may have feel of sour / bitter feeling with in the mouth. 

To suffer from heart burn and the acid reflex the inner lining of esophagus come in contact with excessive stomach juice and acid for over long period of time. The contents of stomach juice are digestive enzymes, acid and other injurious materials. .Due to prolong exposure of stomach acid juice within esophagus lining produces burning sensation and will injure the esophagus lining.

Patient with reflex disorder disease or refer as GERD are due increase in the relaxation frequency of LES. In this condition acid passes from stomach to esophagus and mouth. 

In normal condition the churning and converting of solid food into simpler form occur mostly with in stomach with the aid of release of gastric enzyme and acid. Later food is passed into the small intestine for further process in simpler form and it absorb within the body as per body need energy need and remaining food is excreted from anus,    

Certain OTC (over the Counter) products to treat or overcome heart burn and acid reflex are available at pharmacies. The self-medication and its regular consumption may aggravate heart burn. 

There are certain irritant which leads toward heart burn which are listed below. These are to be consume with caution or avoided

  • Pain Killer such as Aspirin, ibuprofen, Naproxen, diclofenac, NSAID etc.
  • Cold drink, carbonated beverages.
  • Caffeine, coffee and chocolates.
  • Juices having the acidic property such as grapefruit, oranges, pineapple and lemon)
  • Acidic food such as tomatoes, oranges and lemon. 
  • Smoking STOP smoking say no to it.
  • High fat content foods to be avoided. These affect the function of LES, which causes reflux from stomach and this will lead to pass the acid from stomach towards esophagus 
  • Alcohol can also trigger reflex and this may be avoided
  • Pregnancy During this period, pressure is exerted within abdominal cavity, this may affect the function of LES and it may lead to acid reflux. 
  • Obesity may also be the cause of reflex because obesity also increases the pressure on abdomen. 

What are the options available for the management and treatment of frequent heart burn?

In most of the cases of heart burn either in the initial stages or if the episode is infrequent, the doctor will advise to modify the life style. Secondly use the available over the counter medicine to get release from the symptom.

The life style modifications and disciplined life will lead to Quality Of Life (QOL)

This can be done by following recognized and recommended guidelines by the experts. .

Keep away from foods and beverages which may trigger heart burn, such as rich fatty, greasy and spicy foods, coffee, excessive consumption of tea, chocolate, products of tomatoes, beverages, energy drink and alcohol consumption.

Last food to be taken 2-3 hours earlier before going to bed.

Eat small portion of meal and to be divided in 3-4 meals per day. These should be healthy and nutritious food.

Quit smoking reason is use of tobacco in any form reduces saliva, which act as intermediate buffer. Its consumption lead to stimulate production of acid with in the stomach, which effects and hamper the function of LES. It result in acid reflux with in the esophagus and mouth.  

Reduce excessive weight if you are overweight or obese. .     

If suffering from occasional heart burn than sufferer can take over the counter available antacid such as Gaviscon, or H2 antagonist such as Zantac, Ranitidine, Tagamet and the list goes on.

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