Is it Heartburn or Acid Reflux?
If you are old enough, you may remember a time when people complained of heartburn, but acid reflux or GERD didn't seem to be that common. So what is the difference between common heartburn and the more serious disease of acid reflux?
Ever had a great meal that even as you were happily consuming it, you were thinking, boy, am I ever going to pay for this later. Who hasn't? A few people with cast iron stomachs might escape this discomfort, but most people have from time to time suffered the aftermath of overindulgence. You know the feeling, that burning sensation in your chest or even a revolting little episode of your stomach contents rising up into your throat or mouth. An antacid or sipping on something bubbly like a soda often relieves the symptoms. At any rate, the heartburn usually disappears in a few hours leaving most people to go their merry way, giving the episode very little thought.
While most heartburn can be avoided by just not including certain trigger foods into your diet, acid reflux is much harder to treat. Acid reflux sufferers can experience that old burning sensation as well, but with more intensity and much more often. In fact, if you're suffering several times a week with the pain and misery of heartburn, most likely you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). However, there are other possible symptoms of acid reflux as well. These could include nausea, regurgitation, sore throat, belching, a bitter taste in your mouth, bad breath, and painful or difficult swallowing. To make things even more confusing, on occasion, acid reflux may not produce any pain or symptoms at all.
Unfortunately, ignoring occasional heartburn and ignoring persistent GERD are two vastly different scenarios. The consequences of living with uncontrolled GERD can be far reaching. If you have the symptoms of heartburn, often, consult with your doctor. It could be much more serious that you realize, requiring a diagnosis.
The combination of lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight, wearing looser clothes, even eliminating caffeine intake are just a few things that may help to manage the pain and symptoms of acid reflux disease. Your doctor may also recommend the use of some prescription medications, such as generic Aciphex and generic Nexium. The longer a person ignores the disease, the harder it can be to get it under control.
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