Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chronic Heartburn Symptoms and Treatments

Heartburn is a condition that affects at least half of the people in the world at one time or another in their lives, and that is a conservative estimate. Heartburn sufferers experience painful burning sensations around their breastbone, which can be accompanied by nausea. Often the pain is so bad that people experiencing chronic heartburn symptoms, or heartburn symptoms that reoccur on a regular basis, experience significant sleep disturbances.

Dangers Of Chronic Heartburn Symptoms

People who experience heartburn symptoms on a chronic basis may have a tendency to ignore or fail to treat their condition. Failing to treat heartburn symptoms, especially chronic ones, can lead to disastrous medical consequences.

Diseases, such as erosive esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, and even deadly esophageal cancer, can be caused by the constant presence of gastric acid from the stomach in the esophagus, which simply was not built to deal with the destructive effects of the acidity. Many women suffer heartburn symptoms during pregnancy, and may believe that heartburn is part of the natural course of things and falsely assume that the condition does not need to be treated,

The First Step To Treating Heartburn

Sufferers of chronic heartburn symptoms may first consider lifestyle changes to control the condition. Smoking cessation, decreasing alcohol consumption, and avoiding greasy, spicy foods is an important step in seeking relief. Basically, all if these activities cause the stomach to produce excess gastric acid, which causes people to experience heartburn, especially when in a horizontal position. For those who are not ready to quit smoking, avoiding cigarettes near bedtime can help drastically reduce the effects.

Medicinal Treatments for Chronic Heartburn Symptoms

There are a wide variety of drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription that people can use to battle heartburn. Antacids, which can come in the form of liquids or chewable tablets, are cheap and easily available everywhere from drug stores to gas stations. These are often bases that neutralize the acids found in gastric juices.

Drinking baking soda mixed with water is even cheaper and has a similar effect in neutralizing acid, thus bringing almost immediate relief for those suffering chronic symptoms of heartburn.

H2-receptor antagonists are a family of drugs that reduces the formulation of acid by the stomach, which in turn reduces the amount of acid that can find its way into the esophagus. Other medicines that can be prescribed by physicians include alginates, which help stop the stomach from releasing gastric juices into the esophagus, and photon-pump inhibitors, which, like H2-receptors, reduce the acid produced by the stomach.

As with any symptoms, people experiencing chronic heartburn symptoms should consult their physicians for the best course of action and treatment.


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