Preventing heartburn

The biggest advantage of heartburn medicines is their ability to reduce the creation of acid in the stomach long before any burning sensation begins.

By WINSTON CURTIS
July 10, 2011 10:52
2 minute read.
man eating

man eating. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Many people believe that heartburn is a minor problem that causes occasional discomfort. However, most doctors now agree that it is dangerous to ignore heartburn. Studies have shown that untreated heartburn attacks can lead to medical complications, such as inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus (the tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach), which can cause pain and difficulty in swallowing, as well as respiratory problems such as hoarseness, asthma and chronic coughing. If untreated, heartburn can also cause dental damage. But the most serious complication associated with frequent and extended bouts of heartburn is esophageal cancer.



But today, heartburn is an ailment that can be avoided. Taking a pill before eating a heavy meal can prevent that painful burning sensation. Before discussing solutions for heartburn and next-generation medications, it is important to correct certain misconceptions. Some people believe that one can eliminate heartburn by diet and changing one’s eating habits. This is incorrect. According to medical experts, changing one’s eating habits will not eliminate heartburn. It will recur, and that means taking antacids after an attack.

Medical studies have shown that using antacids does not necessarily prevent the possible complications that can arise from the exposure of the esophagus to stomach acids. Antacids create a false impression. The person thinks he is being healed, but in reality it is only temporary relief.

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Modern science operates on the premise that it is better to prevent maladies than to heal them when they occur. And that is the principle of the new generation of medication that has been developed to treat heartburn. This medication reduces the formation of acid in the stomach, which significantly diminishes the occurrence of heartburn. These medications, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), delay the final stage of acid secretion from the cells of the stomach lining.

The biggest advantage of these medicines is their ability to reduce the creation of acid in the stomach long before any burning sensation begins. One pill can prevent heartburn for up to 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Dr. Menahem Moskovitz, a senior gastroenterologist at Ichilov Medical Center, told Active, “These medicines are good for those suffering from heartburn. By taking these pills, they can prevent heartburn.”

This medication is available at pharmacies without a prescription.
Do you suffer from heartburn? If you answer yes to more than one of the following questions, you may suffer from heartburn.
● Do you frequently feel an unpleasant sensation that rises from the stomach to the throat?
● Do you feel a burning sensation accompanied by pain in the upper stomach or chest after eating fried or spicy foods?
● Do you suffer from nausea when you wake up in the morning (if you’re not pregnant)?
● Do you occasionally experience a bitter or sour taste in your mouth?
● Have you developed a chronic cough and hoarseness in the morning?

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