There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to sit down, take a break, clutch their stomach and wonder what they ate that day. Acid reflux is a common health problem for many of us. With increasingly busy schedules and less and less time devoted to health, people develop unhealthy lifestyles and daily patterns. These have an impact on the body and may show up in the form of acid reflux. It is not life threatening so changing a few habits is all you really need to alleviate the symptoms. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe over the counter medication to help you cope. Generally, acid reflux is experienced by every individual at some point in their lives. Just because it is not life threatening doesn’t mean that you have to just deal with it. Advances medical research over the years have invalidated any notions of threat associated with acid reflux. Now, it is simply a minor irritation that can impede your daily progress and can be controlled using habits and medicine.
Acid reflux is a condition that can be associated to heartburn. The general feelings of unease and discomfort are the same, the primary difference here is the frequency. If you suffer from heartburn more than twice a week, then chances are that there are some underlying conditions at play and you need to see a doctor. Also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD takes place when acid moves inside your oesophagus. According to WebMD, this happens when the lower oesophageal sphincter, also known as the muscle at the bottom of your oesophagus, does not close properly. What results is a burning sensation that can pass beyond your chest all the way to your throat.
According to a survey, acid reflux affects about 20% of the population of the United States. eMedicineHealth advises that it is risky to leave acid reflux untreated. If you fear that you are suffering from this disorder, then seek professional medical help immediately.
It is mainly problems associated with what you eat and your lifestyle issues that can give you acid reflux. The most common cause of this disorder is stomach abnormalities. A condition called hiatal hernia has been linked with acid reflux. It takes place when a part of the stomach – the lower oesophageal sphincter- that is normally responsible for keeping acid out of the throat, lets acid inside instead. What results is that burning sensation that so many people are comfortable with. Some other factors that can cause acid reflux include:
Large meals can create problems in the stomach. Instead only eat what you require and never eat to full capacity. Lying down after eating or bending at the waist both create pressure on the stomach area. Being overweight or obese, in addition to other health problems, also causes acid reflux. Eating before you sleep causes problems in digestion and leads to GERD. Certain foods induce acid reflux including citrus, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, tomato and spicy or fatty foods. Drinking alcohol, carbonated or aerated drinks, coffee or tea can cause acid reflux. Smoking, pregnancy and medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications can also lead to this condition.
While this is a common issue many people face, knowing its symptoms can guide you down the road towards fixing it. The primary symptoms you need to look out for are heartburn and regurgitation. A general feeling of discomfort can quickly turn into pain depending on the severity of the condition. Without taking proper care of the body, situations may arise that create issues around your health.
To recognize the symptom of heartburn, look for the burning feeling in your body as the acid travels up from the lower oesophageal sphincter and past your stomach, your chest area and sometimes even up to your throat.
Regurgitation can be recognized from the bitter or sour tasting liquid that appears around your throat. The taste of the acid, this symptom is a primary giveaway that you have acid reflux. Other symptoms you may experience include: a sense of bloating, or feeling as if you have swelled up from the inside, bloody or black stools, blood in your vomit, hiccupping that cannot be controlled, dysphagia, a condition that involves the narrowing of the oesophagus, unexplainable, sudden weight gain, dry cough and sore throat.
Acid reflux treatment is not expensive and can generally be resolved right at home. All you need is a proper lifestyle change that includes exercise and regulating food intake. If the condition is severe, then a doctor may prescribe over the counter medication for you. Always go to a doctor to ensure that the condition does not develop into something more severe. Consistently bad health and eating patterns may result in the development of subsequent problems, such as ulcers and kidney stones.
Do not lie down or bend at the waist after you finish a meal. Ensure that your head is elevated when you are sleeping. Do not eat for at least two to three hours before bedtime. Consider sleeping in a chair for your daytime naps. Lose weight and do not fall in the obesity spectrum. Do not wear tight belts as this restricts your stomach area. Stop smoking. Avoid consumption of the trigger foods mentioned previously.
While acid reflux is not harmful, the pain it causes can easily be avoided. From medications to lifestyle patterns, as long as you are willing to make changes, acid reflux should not affect you. Generally a sign of decline in health, without addressing these problems, your health may further decline. While you visit a doctor for acid reflux, it is a good idea to get a general check up as well to ensure there is nothing else wrong with your system. Acid reflux is a condition that you can say goodbye to at any time. However many people continue to live with it and avoid this condition altogether, resulting in further problems down the line. Acid reflux also prevents you from operating at full capacity and should generally should be treated as soon as possible.
Do you know someone who suffers with acid reflux? Please pass along this story to them!