The esophagus is a connected tube from the mouth to the stomach and it helps to push food toward the stomach in rhythmic waves. The stomach combines food, acids and enzymes are together to begin digestion. There are some protective cells that line the stomach to prevent the acid from causing inflammation. The esophagus does not have this same protection, and if stomach acid and digestive juices reflux back into the esophagus due to gastric problem, they can cause inflammation and damage to its unprotected lining.
Stomach acid refluxes up into esophagus and causes pain. So, This pain can be felt as a burning sensation behind the sternum or breastbone located at center of chest. Many times the pain of acid reflux can be mistaken for the pain of a heart attack.
Symptoms are affected may often awaken from sleep with heart burn, after heavy meals, leaning forward or lying flat.
Heart Burn is generally a symptom of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and is caused by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Risk factor includes:
- Some common intake of acid foods and juices, stimulate increased stomach acid secretion setting the stage for heartburn.
- Smoking and the consumption of high-fat content foods tend to affect function of the LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter).
- Obesity can also a cause increased pressure in the abdomen, and thus reflux in the same way.
- Pregnancy can cause increased pressure within the abdominal cavity and affect LES function.
Heartburn is a common complaint, though it can be confused with other chest illnesses, which includes heart attack, chest wall pain, pneumonia and pulmonary embolus. Diagnosis begins with a complete patient medical history and physical examination (Like X- ray, Endoscopy and Manometry and pH testing etc).
Quick Tips to reduce heartburn:
Change your lifestyle as following:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Avoid alcohol, aspirin, caffeine and ibuprofen
- Avoid eating before bedtime
- If overweight, lose some pounds