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If you suffer from frequent heartburn, there’s a good
chance that you might be suffering from chronic
heartburn. That’s right
chronic heartburn, and it’s not a
condition that can be cured easily with the use of over-
the-counter drugs like antacids.

For
chronic heartburn sufferers, there are a few simple
ways to improve your lifestyle to alleviate the pain. Eating
smaller quantities at meal times, avoiding
acidic foods
and beverages, and also avoiding alcohol and smoking,
can to a certain extent alleviate your heartburn. Also if
you suffer from chronic heartburn, then you probably
wake frequently in the night with your chest on fire. A
good way to avoid this is not to go to sleep immediately
after a meal, and if you can, elevating your head a few
inches will help as well.

In fact if you suffer from
chronic heartburn, you’re
probably suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux
disease, or
GERD as it is more commonly known. If not
treated properly, then
GERD can lead to more serious
problems.
Esophageal cancer being one of the more
serious cases that can occur.

Most people tend never to go to their doctor with their
chronic heartburn, and live with this condition for years.
This can result not only in a worsening of their GERD, but
can also lead to the complication known as ‘Barrett’s
Esophagus’, where the esophagus walls line themselves
with new cells similar to those found in the intestines.
This in turn leads the
chronic heartburn sufferer open to
a condition called ‘Adenocarcinoma’. In other words,
Esophageal cancer.

The other problem you might find yourself facing when
you actually do go to your doctor with your case of
chronic heartburn is misdiagnosis. Although 40 million
Americans alone suffer from heartburn, it is one of the
most frequently misdiagnosed conditions, and it’s easy to
see why.  

Doctors can easily miss
heartburn as the correct
diagnosis, and frequently do, heart attack being the more
common diagnosis. It’s easy to see why really. The chest
pain, the burning sensation just behind your breastbone,
shortness of breath, blurry vision, all these can be
symptoms of either a heart attack, or
heartburn.

For GERD patients, the diagnosis is somewhat simpler. A
simple endoscopic exam, where a small camera is
threaded to the end of a tube and passed down your
throat, is probably the easiest solution to diagnosing
whether you suffer from
chronic heartburn, GERD, or mild
heartburn.

If you have
heartburn, and you have attacks more than
twice a week – this can be classified as chronic
heartburn – then you need to be aware that GERD might
be the underlying condition, and not mild indigestion, or
heartburn as you might think. And if you suspect that you
do have GERD, you should see your doctor as soon as
possible to avoid possible complications. Remember it’s
always better to be safe than sorry.


                              
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The
Acid Reflux
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By
James Kesel,MS