February is the month to celebrate our heart. We celebrate love on Valentine's Day and February is also Heart Health Month, but what about heart burn. They should have a national GERD month since so many people these days suffer from heart burn. GERD is Gastrosophageal Reflux Disease of which the most common condition is heartburn. Web MD has great info on this. It is called heartburn because the pain is usually around the heart, however heartburn is actually a gastrointestinal problem. It is important to make sure you have heartburn rather than a problem with the heart.
I have a friend who recently was hospitalized for three days after going to the ER thinking she was having a heart attack. She had many of the symptoms-chest pain, shooting back pain, trouble breathing, and the anxiety that goes along with it. They released her stating her heart was fine but she many be suffering from "heartburn." The Mayo Clinic site has a discussion on whether it is heart burn or a heart attack.
I have another friend who called me yesterday asking what I do for heartburn?
Within the last several months I have had the telltale symptoms. A burning sensation just below the heart and above the stomach, a funny taste in my mouth and a feeling of transient nausea, a slight cough, and then when it gets bad, the chest and back pain sometimes radiating to the neck. I have seen my doctor, and he did give me some tips besides taking my Pepcid AC.
If you think you have GERD be sure to see your doctor to rule out heart or other issues and to prevent or treat symptoms before the acid in your stomach that backs up in the esophagus causes a more chronic problem like scarring or narrowing of the esophagus. Your doctor may prescribe medication or want to do other tests to determine the extent of the disease.
What causes Heartburn? The symptoms are caused by the back up of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. The cause of Heartburn can be from the foods you eat or beverages. Also just eating too much and eating too late can cause heartburn symptoms especially at night. Alcohol, carbonated beverages and caffeine can be a cause. Other causes are pregnancy, wearing too tight of clothing, bending over after eating, and chronic constipation.
Something to consider is whether you are constipated. If you are not having regular and full bowel movements you could cause a back up of the whole GI tract causing heartburn.
Dehydration contributes to heartburn symptoms. Water is the best beverage.
Another cause is eating too fast or eating when you are under stress. Stress prevents food from digesting in a relaxed manner. Here are my four questions to ask whenever you are not feeling well:
What are you eating?
What are you drinking?
What are you doing?
What are you thinking? Thinking is soooooo important.
So here are some tips.
>Eliminate the foods you know cause problems.
>Avoid eating and drinking right before you go to bed or lay down.
>Elevate the head of your bed. You can put blocks under the legs of your bed. There are special wedge pillow but my doctor says those just make things worse.
>Practice relaxation techniques.
>Drink water throughout the day.
>Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew chew chew your food.
Andrew Wiel has some tips too.
Remember, don't assume it's heartburn. See your doctor for a full workup and his own tips on what to do.