Heartburn is the most common acid reflux disease symptom plaguing more than 60 million Americans today and countless more around the world. However, although commonly associated with acid reflux, manifestations of heartburn every now and then do not always result in a GERD diagnosis. At times, it could just be caused by bad habits, which if corrected can relieve its manifestations. On the other hand, it could also be the result of a physical cause, which requires greater medical attention, especially if it’s an acid reflux disease symptom.
When is Heartburn an Acid Reflux Disease Symptom?
Since people can suffer from heartburn without having GERD, it is necessary for patients to assess the severity of heartburn and determine if it is really a symptom or a manifestation of some other condition. In this respect, there are three things heartburn patients can consider to determine the severity of their condition. These are the length of time at which each heartburn episode lasts, its frequency, and the intensity of the sensations experienced with each episode.
– Length of Time. Heartburn incidents can last between a few minutes in mild cases to several hours in severe cases. For most people experiencing mild heartburns, the incident is often caused by a simple case of overeating or too much consumption of spicy food; such that the condition usually disappears after taking a few antacids and giving the stomach time to digest. In these cases, heartburn is rarely considered an acid reflux disease symptom. However, if the heartburn incident persists even after taking medication, the patient can be suffering from acid reflux disease and should consult a physician immediately.
– Frequency. Heartburn is a condition experienced by a majority of populations in most Western countries. For 44% of the population, experiencing heartburn episodes once a month is still considered mild and should not be cause for alarm. For those who experience it about once a week, caution in their daily eating habits is necessary since they are suffering from moderate heartburn. The problem however lies within 20% of the population who suffer from heartburn at least twice a week. Under these circumstances the heartburn episodes are already considered chronic, indicating a manifestation of acid reflux disease symptom.
– Intensity. Among the heartburn episodes considered to be an acid reflux disease symptom, the patients suffering from the condition usually experience worse conditions that are accompanied by weight loss, blood loss, and food sticking to the throat. If the person suffering from heartburn also tastes a sour acid at the back of the throat, the possibility of heartburn being an acid reflux disease symptom becomes more probable.
Acid Reflux Disease Symptom: Managing Heartburn
If you’re suffering from heartburn, here are simple tips to help you control this acid reflux disease symptom:
1. Watch your diet. Keep track of what you eat and avoid the foods that trigger your heartburn.
2. Avoid large meals. Eat smaller more frequent meals to improve digestion and decrease acid secretion.
3. Quit bad habits. Excessive smoking and excessive drinking only exacerbates heartburn and should be avoided as much as possible.
4. Take a breather. Find ways to relieve yourself of stress because it can upset your stomach and trigger heartburn.
5. Lose weight. Being overweight can puts strain in your abdominal muscles and makes it more difficult to digest food.
6. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. Clothes that are tight on your waist can squeeze your stomach and force food up you esophagus.
An acid reflux disease symptom does not always mean that you have this condition. Consult with your physician for a proper diagnosis.