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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Heartburn

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common name

Pyrosis, cardialgia, acid indigestion (Eng.)

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest, behind the chest bone. Heartburn is also a symptom of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and is caused by acid reflux back into the esophagus.

Symptoms
  • A burning sensation usually felt in the stomach and moves up towards the chest
  • Pain that worsens when bending over or lying flat on the back
  • Regurgitation or a feeling of acid or food moving back up into the esophagus and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy. There is an increase in abdominal pressure in pregnant women.
  • Oral medications such as steroids and anti-asthmatics may increase the risk of acid secretion
  • Diabetes. It directly affects the nerves of the stomach which leads to delayed emptying of the stomach and an increase in acid secretion.
  • Hiatal hernia. A condition wherein part of the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm which allows contents of the stomach to move freely into the esophagus.
  • Hypercalcemia. This condition leads to an increase in production of gastrin, a hormone that leads to increased acid secretion.
  • Foods that may trigger heartburn such as acidic or citrus foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol, spicy and fatty food, chocolates, tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Antacids helps neutralize stomach acid. Drugs: sodium carbonate, calcium carbonate, aluminum-based antacids, aluminum-magnesium antacids.
  • H2 blockers decrease the amount of acid released in the stomach. Drugs: ranitidine, famotidine, cimetidine
  • Proton pump inhibitors are known for their potent and persistent or long-lasting effect in decreasing gastric acid secretion. Drugs: pantoprazole, omeprazole, rabeprazole, dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole.
Treatment and Management
  • Smoking cessation
  • Avoidance of alcohol beverages
  • Lose weight
  • Exercise
  • Lessen intake of food that is known to trigger heartburn
  • Eat meals 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime or before lying down
  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Eat slowly and chew food well
Home Remedies
Suggested Readings
Eating for a Healthy Heart
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The Nitty Gritty of Neuropathic Pain
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