How to Fight Heartburn and Reflux

How to Fight Heartburn and Reflux

heartburn

A substantial amount of Americans suffer from “acid indigestion” or “heartburn.” Others may be diagnosed with GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. These conditions may be triggered by the “typical” American diet and lifestyle habits. The occurrence of these symptoms has increased with the growing epidemic of obesity.  

Well, let’s break the issues down… What are these conditions? How can we address their symptoms?

In heartburn and reflux, acid from the stomach flows upward into the lower end of the esophagus. This can be caused by pressure pushing upward, or relaxation of the otherwise tight muscle that normally keeps acid in the stomach. Pressure can be caused by overeating at a meal, pregnancy, some types of exercise, or being overweight. In the case of the muscle, it can be affected by actual changes in the muscle or substances that relax the muscle. The symptoms, in turn, can be a burning sensation and/or pain.

Foods, beverages, and even certain medications can cause the muscle to relax. Stress, lack of sleep and smoking can also contribute to indigestion. Eating, especially large amounts before bedtime is another element.

Despite the name, heartburn is not a condition of the heart, but the symptoms can mimic heart conditions. Regrettably, some people dismiss symptoms of heart complications, by blaming them on indigestion. Random indigestion or heartburn is not a problem. When it occurs on a regular basis, as in GERD, it can cause ulceration in the esophagus, bleeding ulcers, and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

GERD is diagnosed when the reflux becomes more chronic and problematic. This occurs more than twice a week, becomes worse even with increasing doses of OTC antacids, causes problems with sleep, interferes with normal activities, causes hoarseness or worsening of asthma, invokes a chronic cough, causes chest pain, causes trouble swallowing, or causes a loss of appetite due to symptoms.

As the article stated before, there are some foods that contribute to the cause of reflux, while other foods are more likely to irritate already inflamed tissues. Examples of trigger foods that can cause relaxation of the muscle would be fatty foods, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, tomato, onion, garlic, mint, caffeine and carbonated beverages.

Foods that cause physical irritation might be abrasive grain foods (like some crackers or dry cereals), nuts, or some raw vegetables. Others might be acidic foods (citrus fruit/juices, tomato products) or spicy foods (pepper, chili powder, curry). Try using softer foods and beverages to provide nutrient needs when the esophagus is irritated.

When it comes to fiber, try including more soluble fiber foods found in oats, cooked vegetables and skinned fruit. Cooking raw vegetables like steaming or roasting can reduce the abrasion. It can be helpful to keep a food and beverage record, as well as a symptom record to identify any triggers.

Other habits that can be helpful might be eating smaller, frequent meals (rather than a few large meals), eating slowly, and chewing food thoroughly. You should also try stopping eating about two to three hours before bedtime and sleeping with your upper body elevated. Keep up with fluid intake, which is at least 64oz. spread throughout the entire day.

If being overweight is contributing to the reflux, weight loss would be an option. Healthy weight loss should be achieved by eating smaller portions of healthy foods spread over at a minimum of 3 meals. This pattern can help reduce total calorie intake while sustaining energy levels and putting you in better control over food choices. The smaller portions and more consistent food intake can directly improve the reflux as well. You should also make sure that your diet is nutritionally adequate, since some foods may be limited owing to reduced food intake and because you are avoiding reflux triggers.

GERD

Heartburn/Reflux article

Coffee linked with Cancer

coffee

A new study finds people who drink more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day have half the risk of dying from oral/pharyngeal cancer as people who drink it either occasionally or not at all. However, the researchers say their findings need to be confirmed by more research, and for now should just be received as good news for coffee drinkers and not be used as a reason to recommend everyone should drink 4 cups of coffee a day.

Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer

Oral/pharyngeal or mouth and throat cancer is rarely diagnosed in the early stages because symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer is advanced. Also, the symptoms can be mistaken for something else, such as toothache.

The cancer can sometimes be spotted early during a routine exam by a doctor, dentist, or dental hygienist, and some dentists and doctors suggest you look at your mouth in a mirror at least once a month to check for symptoms.

The most common symptoms are a mouth sore that fails to heal, or a pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away.

The biggest risks for developing oral/pharyngeal cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. Most people who have it are tobacco users.

Researchers Examine Link with Coffee

Previous epidemiological studies have suggested coffee drinking is linked to a reduced risk for mouth and throat cancer.

It has also been suggested that it may not be the caffeine in coffee, but the fact it is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and other compounds, that help prevent or slow the development of cancer.

The study gathered a wealth of lifestyle and health information on 968,432 men and women, including their tea and coffee consumption. When they enrolled on the study, none of the participants had cancer, but over the 26 years of follow up, 868 died from oral/pharyngeal cancer.

When they analyzed the tea and coffee consumption in relation to deaths from oral/pharyngeal cancer, the researchers found those participants who reported drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% lower risk of death from oral/pharyngeal cancer compared to those who reported not drinking coffee at all or only an occasional cup.

Conclusion and Next Step

The researchers conclude:

“In this large prospective study, caffeinated coffee intake was inversely associated with oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. Research is needed to elucidate biologic mechanisms whereby coffee might help to protect against these often fatal cancers.”

“We are not recommending people all drink 4 cups of coffee a day. This is just a little bit of good news for those of us who enjoy coffee.”

“There may be some other effects of coffee that may prevent people with certain conditions from drinking a lot of caffeine,” she cautions, noting that:

“This study is about just one cancer site among many. There needs to be much more consistent research before we can support the conclusion that coffee should be consumed for cancer prevention.”

The team is now planning to analyze links between coffee consumption and cancer in a more diverse population.

The Society hopes to recruit at least 300,000 adults from a range of ethnic and racial backgrounds across the US to take part in CPS-3, which aims to increase knowledge of how to prevent cancer.

There has been a lot of debate recently about the benefits and harms of coffee drinking, with more recent news suggesting the benefits probably outweigh the harms.

But researchers spreading the good news are all saying the same thing, as Hildebrand and colleagues themselves point out in this latest study: while there appear to be some health benefits to drinking coffee, there also are a few concerns, and the evidence is not solid enough to actively encourage people to go out and drink coffee.

 

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253904.php