Is It Heartburn Or Acid Reflux?

by eyount
Is It Heartburn Or Acid Reflux?

Heartburn is often a more serious issue than people make it out to be. Read on to learn the ways you can manage or treat your heartburn and how you can determine if the issue is of a serious nature. What you think is basic heartburn could be acid reflux or a more serious condition that needs to be addressed. These facts will help you rest easier and stress less about that chest pain!

When you eat, the digestion process has already begun. Food, liquid and acid build up in your esophagus and the process often causes discomfort for people, particulary when the food or liquid is high in those acids or spicy in nature. A burning sensation often triggers the inability to swallow, and this is related to acid reflux and is more serious than the typical brief burning we associate with heartburn.

Heartburn 

This is basically acid that eats away at the esophagus, and this is why people feel burning, pain and general discomfort after drinking and eating foods like orange juice or spicy meat. The sensation is typically felt in the middle of the chest and can naturally frighten people who mistake it for the tightening associated with a heart attack. Don't ignore symptoms, but do know that these are the typical feelings and discomfort that are associated with basic heartburn. Things to avoid drinking and eating are alcohol, citrus juices, carbonated beverages, tomatoes and spicy dishes. Exercising or smoking after a meal can also trigger symptoms.

Acid Reflux
 

The more serious of the two ailments. When the sphincter muscle stays open for too long, acid finds it way to the esophagus and causes the pain you feel after eating or drinking. Acid reflux isn't always a pain that is felt, however, that is how it differs from heartburn. The inability to swallow is a more dangeous side effect and doesn't always accompany the burning sensation felt with heartburn.


Acid Reflux Disease

If you are suffering from acid reflux frequently, you likely have ARF, which is also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Permanent damage to the esophagus can occur when the sphincter muscle doesn't close. If you are pregnant, these symptoms can often worsen. Drugs for conditions such as asthma, insomnia and high blood pressure can also contribute to escalating symptoms. Obesity often is a factor, too, so losing a few pounds could help ease the pain!


What can you do?

Heartburn is most often easily remedied with antacids, but acid reflux has symptoms that include hiccups, difficulty swallowing and even wheezing or the regurgitation of meals. If you have ongoing symptoms, there are two typical tests that can be performed. One is an EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy), which involves a camera on the end of a long tube that is inserted in the mouth and down to the damaged esophagus and small intestine. A barium swallow, which is something that you drink, is also utilized. After swallowing the drink mixture, an X-ray allows for a fluoroscopy where the barium can be tracked through the system. This test determines the functionality of your esophagus.


Some complications can lead to inflammation, ulcers and even cancer if not treated, so take the time to see your doctor. If you experience vomiting or choking, contact your health professional. Bleeding can also occur and should be addressed immediately.


Looking for more health-related facts and tips? Take the time to read up on a variety of health topics at this link.

 

 

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