Why You Should Not Ignore Heartburn

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Heartburn is a common symptom, where an annoying and irritating sensation creeps up your chest and happens after having spicy food or if you have an intolerance to any food item. Though it goes away after having an over the counter antacid, having heartburn frequently is a serious concern. Major reasons for heartburn include spicy foods, lack of exercise, low metabolism, improper diet and obesity. In a conference held in Edmond, OK, gastroenterologists made it clear why you should not ignore heartburn for a long time. This is not a disease rather a symptom of other diseases.

If you have constant heartburn for over 10-15 days, you should consult a doctor. Here are the problems that may come bundled with heartburn.

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GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

When fluid from the stomach re-enters the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation and heartburn. It can spread to the throat depending on the severity. GERD is one of the most common diseases of heartburn which should not be treated by over the counter medicines, but by a gastroenterologist. You should consult with a specialist because GERD is related to other serious health issues like asthma, peptic ulcer, esophagus cancer, reflux laryngitis, scleroderma or mixed connective tissue disease.

After being diagnosed with this disease your doctor may restrict you from consuming foods such as citrus-based fruits like lemon, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, tomato-based products like ketchup, fatty and spicy foods. You should also be restricted from smoking, eating right before bedtime etc.

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Barrett’s Esophagus

Heartburn is a telltale sign of GERD and upon being diagnosed with GERD, the gastroenterologist may like to go deeper to reveal the deeper truth behind the problem. Amongst other types of esophageal cancer, the adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is the most prominent and often found after being diagnosed with GERD. Almost 10% to 15% of patients with GERD develop this cancer and the condition is commonly known as Barrett’s Esophagus. Men more than women, people who have a long history of heartburn or people of Caucasian race suffer from this disease more. After being diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus, a person should follow a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits.

Dysplasia

Once your gastroenterologist in Edmond, OK diagnoses you with Barrett’s Esophagus, he is most likely going to test you for Dysplasia. This is a precancerous condition, to be more specific it tells whether there is a presence of cancer cells in the body. These cells sometimes need to be removed surgically before they go too far and spread all over the body.

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Esophageal Cancer

Now it is quite clear to you how heartburn can be life-threatening when it turns to cancer. When left untreated, recurrent heartburn may turn to GERD followed by Barrett’s esophagus and next is Dysplasia. If this process continues to progress untreated, your body is in danger. Remember, this is easy to prevent, if you take heartburn seriously you have a lower chance of developing cancer. It is time to book your appointment with a gastroenterologist in Edmond, OK. You cannot ignore it. Occasional heartburn can happen but when it is frequent, to the point of annoying, you can be you in grave trouble. You should not wait to give it a second chance. Are you in search of a gastroenterologist? Come to Digestive Disease Specialist for your checkup today.

Disclaimer: This blog content does not offer a doctor's advice and creates no relationship between any patient and care provider.