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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heartburn

Last Saturday Dave had the most terrible episode of heartburn. He was in so much pain that we almost call 911. I felt awful too because he was in the couch grimacing in pain and I could not do anything. I tried to reach Mom to ask what I can do. Mom works in the pharmacy for a long time, so I know she knows what should I need to do.

Mom advised Dave to drink a bottle of Sprite to settle down the food in his tummy. Earlier that afternoon, we went to a party and Dave ate grilled bbq chicken. That was the only food he ate. The chicken was so good but Dave said that next time he would avoid eating it.

Thankfully, after drinking sprite Dave's pain was gone. Was it heartburn or indigestion? I don't know...

Anyway, I researched heartburn to make myself familiar with it. Below is what I learned from WebMD.

What Is Heartburn?

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. (Some of the symptoms, however, are similar to those of a heart attack or heart disease.) Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid.

With gravity's help, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. The LES is located where the esophagus meets the stomach -- below the rib cage and slightly left of center. Normally it opens to allow food into the stomach or to permit belching; then it closes again. But if the LES opens too often or does not close tight enough, stomach acid can reflux, or seep, into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.

Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous, but chronic heartburn can indicate serious problems and can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn is a daily occurrence for about 10% of Americans and up to 50% of pregnant women. It's an occasional nuisance for 30% of the population.

What Causes It?

The basic cause of heartburn is an underactive lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, that doesn't tighten as it should. Two excesses often contribute to this problem: too much food in the stomach (overeating) or too much pressure on the stomach (frequently from obesity or pregnancy). Certain foods commonly relax the LES, including tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, caffeinated products, and peppermint. Dishes high in fats and oils (animal or vegetable) often lead to heartburn, as do certain medications. Stress increases acid production and can cause heartburn. And smoking, which relaxes the LES and stimulates stomach acid, is a major contributor.

1 comments:

shydub said...

My husband has that annoying heartburn too lulu. He is taking his tums to relieve everytime he has the heart burn. He is also taking zantacs. I hope Dave is fine now.

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