What Is Acid Reflux Disease?
The Digestive System and Acid Reflux
The digestive system is responsible for the break down and absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. Food enters through the mouth, travels down the esophagus, entering the stomach.
The stomach has a specially lined mucosa resistant to the digestive acid, hydrochloric acid, that it contains. Hydrochloric acid is the only acid naturally produced by the human body, and is essential for proper digestion.
Heartburn is a burning sensation caused by stomach acid flowing into the esophagus, which has no acid resistant mucosa. The continuous occurrence of severe heartburn causing irritation and damage to the esophagus is known as acid reflux.
Signs and Symptoms of Acid Reflux: A Self Assessment
Acid reflux is characterized by a frequent burning sensation in the chest, typically after eating or lying down. The damaged esophageal lining caused by acid reflux includes a constellation of symptoms including:
- Chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
There are a variety of causes for acid reflux including, but not limited to:
- Certain foods
- Large food portions
- Lying down after eating
What about Antacids?
Antacids are available over-the-counter for relief of acid reflux symptoms. Antacids are generally basic compounds that counteract and neutralize the hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach.
This provides quick relief of current symptoms, but solves no long term problems, as antacids only act to temporarily reduce inflammation to the esophageal lining. Unwanted side effects are common with the use of antacids.
After over-the-counter antacids, the first option for most individuals is that of lifestyle and dietary changes. By avoiding particular foods and the urge to overeat, some symptoms may subside.
Reducing alcohol intake and not smoking have also been shown to reduce some symptoms. However, diet and lifestyle changes may not always be enough. Prescription medications are available for treatment, but symptom relief may be possible through an all natural method.
Natural and immediate relief from acid reflux is possible through use of nutritional products.
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