What Is Heartburn?

Heartburn: What Is It Really and Should You Be Concerned?

Whenever you drink beer, you may feel something burning inside your chest located just behind your breastbone. It’s painful and it rises into the chest and radiates to your neck, throat, and angle of the jaw. You possibly feel like vomiting but nothing comes out – you just have a bitter taste in your mouth.

You’ve just experienced heartburn or also known as pyrosis or acid indigestion.

Basically, heartburn is often associated with regurgitation of gastric acid or also known as acid reflux. This is the reason you feel a burning sensation in your chest and in your throat. This is also why you can taste something bitter immediately afterwards.

So, should you be concerned if you experience heartburn?…

For starters, heartburn is a major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. And, you need to remember that this may be misdiagnosed because the symptom of burning in the chest is also a symptom of ischemic heart disease, which is a much more serious illness. This is why seeing your doctor when you experience severe heartburn is a positive step forward in seeking treatment for this digestive condition. Then you can be properly diagnosed and be given the correct medications for the type of disease you have.

You should be somewhat concerned if you have heartburn, being a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, it can also lead to inflammation of the esophagus. Heart burn can also be a sign of acute myocardial infarction as well as angina, so it is certainly a good idea to see your doctor for evaluation and confirmation that you are in fact suffering from GERD, which is a digestive issue, rather than a heart problem.

If you have been told to administer medication like vicous lidocaine and it relieved you of symptoms 5 to 10 minutes after the administration, it is very likely that the heartburn is esophageal in origin. But, you still have to keep in mind that this does not rule out that the sensation could be caused by a heart related illness or disease.  This is primarily the reason to go to the doctor in order to be diagnosed properly and determine the true cause.

Your doctor may try to diagnose you biochemically or mechanically. The biochemical method of diagnosing means that a probe will be placed into the esophagus, via the nose. This will record the level of acidity in the lower of esophagus. This method is called Esophageal pH Monitoring, which can be used to document acid reflux in real time.

In the mechanical method, the doctor will try a method called Manometry. This method is where the doctor will insert a pressure sensor or a manometer through the mouth and in to the esophagus. This device will measure the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter.

Another method is endoscopy. Using this method, the doctor will see the esophageal mucosa by passing a thin light tube with a small camera, in through the mouth. This device is called an endoscope and is used to examine the esophagus, as well as the stomach. An endoscopy will help the doctor see if there is any evidence of esophageal inflammation and biopsies may also be taken if necessary through this method.

Treating heartburn will depend on the underlying cause. Antacids may be given to treat GERD and gastritis and antibiotics may be given if H. pylori are present or diagnosed. There are also a wide range of natural heartburn remedies available. Acid reflux, leading to any chronic heartburn can become a serious condition. Once you experience the discomforting symptoms, it is wise to visit your doctor to determine what’s causing it and know how to treat heartburn properly.


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