Heartburn though has 'heart' in its name, but there no relation with the heart. May be because it happens in the chest region and some of the symptoms of heartburn have resemblance with heart attack or disease.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is caused when the stomach acid creates irritation in the oesophagus. This leads to a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and around the breast bone area.
Also Read: Superfoods To Fight Anemia
LES or lower oesophageal sphincter, which is located where the oesophagus meets the stomach, is a muscular valve which opens and allows the food particles to enter the stomach and then closes.
But if the LES doesn't open too often and closes tightly as a result of overeating or other ailments, the stomach acid can spill out into the oesophagus and cause the burning sensation.
Fatty and oily food, lack of sleep, stress and smoking can also cause heartburn. Chronic heartburn can be a very serious symptom.
Causes Of Heartburn:
If heartburn goes on for a long time without any treatment, it can indicate at some serious diseases. Some of them are as listed below, have a look:
1. Oesophageal cancer: If you are suffering from three straight weeks of chronic heartburn or having difficulty in swallowing, besides experiencing weight loss, frequent burping and indigestion and other ailments like stomach pain, then there is every possibility of the development of oesophageal cancer. Frequent acid reflux into the oesophagus can lead to an inflammation called GERD (gatroesophageal reflux disease), of which heartburn is a key symptom.
2. Stomach cancer: Heartburn could also be a symptom of stomach cancer and the worst part is, such type of cancer doesn't get detected early. So, consult a doctor when you are having the earliest signs of heartburn.
3. Hiatal hernia: It occurs when the upper part of your stomach pushes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.
4. Achalasia: It occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter doesn't function properly.
5. Gastritis: It occurs when the weak lining of the stomach causes digestive juices to damage it.
6. Gallstones: These are hard deposits in the gallbladder, which can stop the bile ducts from functioning correctly.
7. Cholesystitis: This happens as a result of inflammation of the gallbladder, which helps in digesting the fats.
Also Read: Reason To Avoid Frozen Foods
Tips To Deal With The Heartburn Problem:
You should of course see a doctor when experiencing heartburn, since it could be a signal of a severe health disorder, but at the same time, you can follow certain lifestyle patterns to curb the problem all by yourself. Here are some tips:
1. Give up smoking
2. Eat smaller and more frequent meals.
3. Place your head on a raised pillow while sleeping.
4. Do not retire to bed soon after having your meal.
5. Do not exercise at least two hours after eating your meal.
6. Don't have spicy food, citrus fruits or alcohol.
7. Shed some kilos to avoid heartburn.
8. Consume ginger-root tea, fruits like apple and banana, aloe juice, food containing baking soda, etc. Even chewing sugarless gum is good.
9. Avoid aspirin and caffeine.
10. Avoid food which has a high fat content and also carbonated drinks.
11. Have less amount of chocolate, since it contains caffeine.