How Many People Are Suffering From Heartburn?

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burningMany people worry that this burning sensation in their chest that they experience from time to time may affect their heart, nonetheless, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart at all.

That being said, your heartburn might be so severe that you really believe that you might actually suffer from a heart attack.

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, could take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. Not only does it cause a burning sensation in your chest or throat, but it can actually cause serious pain in your chest as well.

If you’re frequently suffering from heartburn, know that you are not alone. Almost 40% of Americans suffer from heartburn a minimum of once a month. But that is not all. Almost half of all pregnant women get acid reflux in their third trimester. Acid reflux does not always have to be caused by bad eating habits, or even food. Sometimes it can be a physical cause that is leading to this condition.

In between the esophagus and stomach, there is a muscular valve which opens and closes at appropriate times. Sometimes however, this muscle relaxes or opens at the wrong times, which can cause the acid from your stomach to escape and cause a burning feeling in your esophagus.

heart burnBut how can you be sure that it is in fact heartburn you are suffering from? Most of the time, acid reflux will get worse the moment you lie down. In contrast, a heart attack will not get worse if you lie down.

This is a clear sign that you are experiencing heartburn symptoms. Sometimes you may even experience coughing and a specific hoarseness when you suffer from this condition.

Nonetheless, if you’re heartburn persists or you get it more than two times a week, you should always visit your primary health care provider.

He may be able to prescribe you certain medication that can relieve you from the symptoms of this condition. If you suffer from it frequently, it may also be a sign that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is also known as GERD. In extreme cases, heartburn can lead to inflammation of the esophagus.

If this is what you have, you will most likely cough up blood. But it can even get worse, because if the problem persists and you get heartburn attacks extremely frequently, you may even risk getting esophageal cancer in the long run. The esophagus is a pipe, with a muscle attached to it, that is connecting the mouth to the opening of the stomach.

esophagusThe esophagus actually pushes the foods you have eaten into your stomach. Once the food is in your stomach, it should not be able to travel back up because the stomach opening would then be closed off by a muscle, which is called the lower esophageal sphincter.

The moment the food has reached your stomach, it will then mix with stomach acid to start the digestion process. Sometimes however, this entire process could eventually be compromised, which then results in heartburn or acid reflux.

Nonetheless, if this happens very frequently, you are most likely suffering from GERD.This condition called GERD needs to be treated by your primary health care physician. If you do not treat this condition, you may risk damaging your esophagus. This in turn may cause esophageal cancer, as mentioned above.

It is important to note that the stomach has a lining which protects the stomach from damaging itself, but this is not true for your esophagus. So once the stomach acid frequently gets into your esophagus, it may cause problems down the line. But how can you be sure that it is in fact heartburn and not a heart attack? After all, heartburn and GERD may actually cause chest pain in extreme circumstances as well.

Nonetheless, there are still a few things you should pay attention to that give you the ability to distinguish a heartburn from a heart attack. First of all, a heartburn starts usually somewhere in between the first two hours after having a meal. Heartburn will also get worse if you bend down or when you lie down.

PainMost often, the pain will actually start in the upper abdomen, where it will then travel to the back. Sometimes you may even experience a sour taste in your mouth.

But if you’re suffering from heart attacks, chest pain is only the beginning. Your chest will start to tighten and you will experience a crushing pain in the center of your chest.

Most people also experience pain that is spreading from the left arm to the chest, then to the back and even to the jaw and to the shoulder. That being said, even if you’re suffering from heartburn but you’re not sure, is always better to seek medical attention immediately.

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