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Heartburn

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart.

Heartburn or acid indigestion is caused by acid that comes up from the stomach. When swallowing, food passes down the throat & thru the esophagus to the stomach. Normally the valve called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food in and then closes. The stomach then releases acids to break down food. If the sphincter opens too often or does not close tight enough , these strong acids can reflux or seep back into the esophagus, damaging it and causing burning sensations known as heartburn.

Even though heartburn is uncomfortable it does not usually present a serious health problem for most people.

Certain foods can cause heartburn along with certain lifestyle habits. Some things to avoid are:

  • Eating large portions
  • Eating before bedtime
  • Eating certain foods like onions, spicy foods, tomatoes & garlic
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

If you experience heartburn often you should discuss this with your healthcare professional for advice on medications and life style changes that can help you lead a better life.


 

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