What is heart burn?

What is heart burn?

The word heartburn makes us think about some heart problem but it is not true, the is only
due to its symptoms similar to a heart attack. Irritation is observed in the tube which connects
throat and stomach which is caused due to stomach acid leading to burning sensations in
upper stomach.
In medical term Heart burn is also known as Esophagus.

What Causes Heartburn?


One can trigger Heartburn symptoms when there is problem in lower esophageal valve,
which is located where the esophagus gets connected to stomach. Normally, due to gravity,
the valve keeps stomach acid at a right place in your stomach. The main function of the valve
is to let the food into the stomach and works as a door between the tube and the stomach. If
the valve gets lose the stomach acid can seep into esophagus, which causes burning in the
upper part of stomach. It can cause other problems such as overeating and creates pressure on
stomach which is due to obesity, pregnancy or constipation.

Meals which are deep fried and contain lots of spices/green chillies may lead to burns in
chest. Sometimes medicines which contain heavy dosage such as pain killers and anti-biotic
can give hyper acidity. Stress and lack of sleep can arise if your stomach produce high
amount of acid and can cause heartburn. If you're pregnant, the hormone progesterone can
relax your LES and lead to heartburn. Smoking relaxes the valve and increases stomach acid.

Duration of Heartburn

Each and every person have different immune system, different food habits, different DNA
and so on. Thus, for some people heartburn can last for some hours and for some it may be
longer. It is very common among pregnant women and according to some of the survey 20%
of Americans face heartburns at least once a week. Chronic heartburn is not healthy, it might
lead to some of the serious health conditions.

Following are the RED signs which should be kept in mind:

 Continuous coughing which exceeds a week.
 Swelling found in larynx
 Inflammation or ulcers of the esophagus
 Problems swallowing food which can be caused due to narrowing of esophagus
 Barretts esophagus, a condition which can lead to esophageal cancer


 Hoarseness: If acid reflux gets past the upper esophageal sphincter, it can enter the
throat (pharynx) and even the voice box (larynx), causing hoarseness or sore throat.
 Laryngitis: Chronic dry cough, especially at night. GERD is a common cause of
unexplained coughing. It is not clear how cough is caused or aggravated by GERD.
 Asthma: Refluxed acid can worsen asthma by irritating the airways. And asthma and
the medications used to treat it can make GERD worse.
 Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat.
 Sudden increase of saliva.
 Bad breath.
 Earaches.
 Chest pain/discomfort.
Source – niddk.nih.gov


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