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Heart Burn / GERD

GERD: What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD is the abnormal backflow of stomach acid and juices into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs in infants too. Infants who have gastroesophageal reflux disease may not gain weight, may have respiratory problems and may develop more slowly.

Why Does Backflow Occur? This backflow occurs when the valve between the lower end of the esophagus and the stomach does not close tightly enough.
Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease is a frequent heartburn. Heartburn is often described as a feeling of burning, warmth, heat, or pain just behind the breastbone, commonly referred to as heartburn. The burning sensation usually occurs after eating. If you have pain behind your breastbone, you need to make sure there is not a problem with your heart. Occasional heartburn does not mean you have gastroesophageal reflux disease. In gastroesophageal reflux disease, the heartburn lasts longer and occurs more often.
Other Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

| A sour or bitter taste in the mouth | Difficulty swallowing | Ear, nose, and throat problems | Chest pain | Nausea, often in the morning |

What Causes Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? Overeating or bending forward after eating occasionally causes heartburn and a sour taste in the mouth.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Running: Running can aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can aggravates gastroesophageal reflux disease because it jostles the stomach and can slow gastric emptying and digestion. To prevent aggravation of gastroesophageal reflux disease while running, eat a small, low-fat meal at least an hour before running. (Fatty foods can trigger heartburn). Maintaining good running posture will also help.
Treatment Options for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease are aimed at reducing the abnormal backflow of the stomach acid and juices. Some of the most common treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease are:

| antacids | acid reducers | prescription medication |surgery (in severe cases) |

What is Heart Burn? Heart burn is a discomfort or pain caused by the stomach contents traveling up from the stomach up into the gullet (lower part of your esophagus). The gullet is not made to withstand acid and is irritated and inflamed when acid from the stomach travels up into it. Sometimes the pain caused by heart burn can also be felt in the mid-line of the back. Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Heart burn is a digestive problem. Heart burn is usually related to meals and posture and can often be relieved by remedies for indigestion. Most people suffer from heart burn at one time or another during their lifetime. If you have heartburn, you might have a bitter taste in your mouth from stomach acid. Heart burn is also called reflux esophagitis.
What are the Symptoms of Heart Burn? The main symptoms are: burning sensation in the center of the chest and belching.
What Causes Heart Burn? Heart burn is caused by a faulty muscle in the stomach. There is a "flap" at the top of the stomach that stops food from traveling back up into the esophagus. Sometimes the flap doesn't work properly and stomach acid escapes from the stomach. When the acid escapes, heart burn occurs. Factors that contribute to heart burn:pregnancy, smoking, eating large meals, being overweight, and wearing tight clothing around the waist.
Is Heart Burn Caused by Hiatal Hernia? Hiatal hernia is a very common condition. It occurs when the stomach partially sits in the chest cavity through a weakness in the diaphragm. Sometimes, a persistent hiatal hernia can cause heart burn. However, many people who experience heartburn do not have a hiatal hernia. Also, many people with a hiatal hernia do not experience heart burn. Your doctor can determine if heart burn is caused by a hiatal hernia.
Heart Burn Statistics: In the United States, about 50% of the population has heart burn at least once a month. About 7% of the population has heart burn daily.
How is Heart Burn Treated? Heart burn can be treated by antacids or medication provided by your doctor.
Complications of Heart Burn: If heart burn is not controlled, it can cause serious complications. Some common complications of heart burn are:

| Esophagitis | Esophageal bleeding | Esophageal ulcer | Barrett's esophagus | Strictures | Increased risk of esophageal cancer |

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