Few people can tell that they had never experienced heartburn in their life. According to the statistics, about 20-40% of adults complained about this unpleasant feeling. Nowadays even teenagers start to experience heartburn symptoms and we have our modern lifestyle to blame for it. It doesn’t take much to get heartburn these days: sometimes it shows up after holidays, parties, picnics (especially if you eat barbeque with a lot of ketchup) or a lot of sweets.
What is heartburn, how does it appear and how to identify it?
Regular heartburns often act as a symptom to very serious diseases, like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (when the hydrochloric stomach acid is sent back into the esophagus). It causes very unpleasant sensations, like burning inside the stomach, belch, bitter taste in mouth, throat irritations, etc.
Who is most susceptible to heartburns?
Now that we know what heartburn is, it is time to find out what type risks the most to be affected by heartburn.
One may have heartburn if he/she drinks a lot of sodas, coffee, strong tea, adding a lot of tomato paste to various dishes, eat a lot of sweets, take pills that decrease the blood pressure or expand the bronchi, NSAIDs and other remedies that are prescripted for joint pains, etc. Thus, people that often have problems with blood pressure or asthma would have to cure their heartburns as long as they live.
People with overweight and smokers are also in the zone of risk. People with overweight are mostly susceptible, when they’re taking remedies that were mentioned above, once or twice a month during the surfeit or due to the high concentration of fluid in the system. Doctors always consider the frequency of heartburns, when choosing the treatment for this or that patient.
Why is heartburn dangerous?
Like any other disease, heartburn significantly worsens the patient’s life and decreases his/her effectiveness as a worker. If it is not treated correctly, the complications will be severe: erosion, narrowing of the esophagus, ulcers, bleedings and changes in mucosal cells. These symptoms indicate the precancerous condition, which can be treated surgically.
Nevertheless, heartburn can be treated ‘on demand’ ‘ by taking pills right after the first symptoms or take remedies that will significantly decrease the level of acid in the stomach to prevent unpleasant sensations.
Knowing what heartburn is, the doctor may prescribe various remedies to help you get rid of heartburn. The most popular ones block the production of the hydrochloric acid inside the stomach (the effect will last for 24 hours). Although such remedies are effective, they may not be used during the whole treatment as they contain phosphorous and aluminum compounds that can harm the system.
Note that the doctor will decide which remedy to prescribe only after thorough examination, and his decision will depend on the patient’s current comordities. The treatment requires a lot of time ‘ sometimes it takes a month, but it may also take a whole year.
Now that we know what heartburn is, it is time to know how to prevent it:
- One can avoid heartburns and its unpleasant symptoms by eating boiled dishes or food that is cooked on the steam. The temperature of these dishes should be about 38-40’C during the consumption;
- Eat 3-4 times a day;
- If you like sour berries and fruits, note that they should be consumed only after the main meal and in small quantities;
- The last meal should be in 19-19:30 p.m.;
- Don’t bend, lie down or lift any heavy objects and don’t do any hard physical work as soon as you finish your meal;
- Don’t wear your belts or clothes too tight;
- Minimize or avoid food that provokes heartburns: fat food, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, spicy food and acidic juices.