What Are These?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Heart burn

Heartburn or Acid indigestion or Pyrosis is a painful and burning sensation in the esophagus, in your chest or throat just below the breastbone usually associated with regurgitation of gastric.

It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. The pain often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. If you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). With GERD, the muscles at the end of your esophagus do not close tightly enough. This allows contents of the stomach to back up, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Heartburn is a major symptom of gastro esophageal reflux disease; acid reflux is also identified as one of the causes of chronic cough, and may even mimic asthma. Despite its name, heartburn actually has nothing to do with the heart; it is so called because of a burning sensation near to where the heart is located – although some heart problems may give rise to a similar burning sensation. Compounding the confusion is the fact that hydrochloric acid from the stomach comes back up the esophagus because of a problem with the cardiac sphincter, a valve which misleadingly contains the word "cardiac," referring to the cardiac as part of the stomach and not, as might be thought, to the heart. But if you have other symptoms such as crushing chest pain, it could be a heart attack. Get help immediately.

Pregnancy, certain foods, alcohol and some medications can bring on heartburn. Treating heartburn is important because over time reflux can damage the esophagus. Over-the-counter medicines may help. If the heartburn continues, you may need prescription medicines or surgery.

Despite its name, heartburn doesn't affect the heart. Heartburn is a burning feeling in the lower chest, along with a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth. It usually occurs after eating a big meal or while lying down. The feeling can last for a few minutes or a few hours.

When you eat, food passes from your mouth down a tube (about 10 inches long in most people) called the esophagus. To enter the stomach, the food must pass through an opening between the esophagus and stomach. This opening acts like a gate to allow food to pass into the stomach. Usually, this opening closes as soon as food passes through. But if it doesn't close all the way, acid from your stomach can get through the opening and into your esophagus. This is called reflux. Stomach acid can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach is pushed up through the diaphragm (the muscle wall between the stomach and chest) and into the chest. Sometimes this causes heartburn.

Many things can make heartburn worse. Heartburn is most common after overeating, when bending over or when lying down. Pregnancy, stress and certain foods can also make heartburn worse. The box below lists other things that can aggravate heartburn symptoms.

Things that can make heartburn worse:
• Cigarette smoking
• Caffeine content beverages Coffee(regular or decaffeinated) and others.
• Alcohol
• Carbonated drinks
• Citrus fruits
• Tomato products
• Chocolate, mints or peppermints
• Fatty foods or spicy foods (such as pizza, chili and curry)
• Onions
• Laying down too soon after eating
• Being overweight or obese
• Aspirin or ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin)
• Certain medicines (such as sedatives and some medicines for high blood pressure)

Tips on preventing heartburn:
• Place 6- to 9-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed to raise it.
• Try to eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down. If you take naps, try sleeping in a chair.
• If you smoke, quit.
• Lose weight if you're overweight.
• Don't overeat.
• Eat high-protein, low-fat meals.
• Avoid tight clothes and tight belts.
• Avoid foods and other things that give you heartburn.
From those things above then you have to change you life style, basically.

Antacids neutralize the acid that your stomach makes. For most people, antacids that you can get without a prescription (over-the-counter) give fast, short-term relief. However, if you use antacids too much, they can cause diarrhea or constipation. Look for antacids that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide. (One causes constipation while the other causes diarrhea so they counteract each other.) Some brands of antacids include Maalox, Mylanta and Riopan. Follow the directions on the package. Several kinds of medicine can be used to treat heartburn. H2 blockers (some brand names: Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac) reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes. Several are available without a prescription. Other medicines, such as omeprazole (brand name: Prilosec) and lansoprazole (brand name: Prevacid), also reduce how much acid the stomach makes. Metoclopramide (brand name: Reglan) reduces acid reflux. To find out what medicine is right for you, talk with your doctor.

If lifestyle changes and antacids don't help your symptoms, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to take prescription medicine or schedule you for some tests. Tests might include X-rays to check for ulcers, a pH test to check for acid in the esophagus, or an endoscopy to check for other conditions. During an endoscopy, your doctor looks into your stomach through a long, thin tube which is inserted down your esophagus. Your doctor may also check for H. pylori, bacteria that can cause ulcers. If you only have heartburn now and then, it's probably not serious. However, if you have heartburn frequently, it can lead to esophagitis (an inflamed lining of the esophagus). If esophagitis becomes severe, your esophagus might narrow and you might have bleeding or trouble swallowing. If you get more than occasional heartburn, it may be a symptom of acid reflux disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), an inflamed stomach lining (gastritis), hiatal hernia or peptic ulcer.

Call your doctor if:
• You have trouble swallowing or pain when swallowing.
• You're vomiting blood.
• Your stools are bloody or black.
• You're short of breath.
• You're dizzy or lightheaded.
• You have pain going into your neck and shoulder.
• You break out in a sweat when you have pain in your chest.
• You have heartburn often (more than 3 times a week) for more than 2 weeks.

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