Human body is considered as a dynamic creation of nature. There are a total seventy eight organs present in human body and each of these are of different dimensions and perform different functions. The interesting fact here is that all these different organs work in coordination for performing a common function. Out of the 11 major organ systems in the human body, one of the very important one is the digestive system. The digestive system is designed in a way that it breaks down the food into smaller particles so that all the nutrients are released from the food and absorbed in the body. Stomach which is actually the house for digestive system breaks down the food and mix it well with acids and enzymes for triggering the digestion process.
Walls of stomach are properly lined with a layer of cells, which prevents the acid from triggering acidity. Esophagus is a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach fall short of this protective lining and if stomach acid and digestive juices reflux back into the esophagus, this leads to heartburn. Heartburn is caused by this refluxing back of acid into esophagus and is actually a symptom of GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). The usage of the word "heartburn" is hghly misleading since the human heart has minimum to do with the feelings caused by heartburn.
What Does it Feel Like to Have Heartburn?
Heartburn usually causes an uncomfortable burning or sharp feeling in our chest that can move up to our neck and throat. The burning feeling caused by heartburn is mostly felt just to the back of the breastbone in the chest. It could last a few minutes to hours. It may even cause pain in the chest, effectively after eating, bending over, or lying down. This chest pain is sometimes confused for a chest pain caused by a heart attack. Heartburn could easily affect our throat as well. Along with a burning feeling around the chest, this is also felt in the throat during heartburn. Facing problem in swallowing food is one of the most painful symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux. Mild and infrequent heartburns can easily be treated with medicines such as antacids but sometimes the heartburn could turn out to be severe enough to make the person vomit or make them feel like they could be having a heart attack. Such a severe chronic heart attack could easily interfere with lifestyle or daily activities.
These heartburns are mostly caused by either eating habits, lifestyle habits or some specific medical reasons like pregnancy. People suffering from heartburn may also feel hoarseness in which people undergo abnormal voice changes. In some people, heartburn symptoms may also cause sleeping problems, wheezing or choking episodes.
Heartburn occurs more frequently in adults than in children. Pregnancy could sometimes cause daily heartburns. Mild heartburns may occur about once a month whereas moderate heart burns may occur about once a week.
Although heartburn may be thought of as a very common phenomenon which can make some people feel like it is better to just ignore it, but concerning with a doctor is sometimes quite important, especially if the other symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn become both prominent as well or if the heartburn symptoms becomes more frequent. Heartburn is not a benign condition. If the problem of heartburn is neglected over a long period of time, then it may lead to other more severe medical problems such as Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer. This makes prevention of heartburn a necessity which could be achieved by following a proper lifestyle. Making some minor changes in the lifestyle can help a long way in preventing acidity or acid reflux.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or Chronic Heartburn: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
- Treat Heartburn The Natural Way: Home Remedies & Prevention
- How Long Does Heartburn Last & What to Take for it?
- How Does Heartburn Feel & What Could be Causing it?
- Treating Heartburn with OTC Meds & Preventing Heartburn with Lifestyle Changes
- Why Tobacco May Make Heartburn Worse?