Beware of These Heart Burn Triggers

Heart burn has many triggering factors and overeating is not the only culprit. If you are getting heart burn regularly, it is time to look beyond common heart burn triggering factors such as foods with spicy hot chili, chocolate cake, overeating during festivals such as thanksgiving or Christmas. It is important to know lesser suspects that can trigger heart burn and take precautionary measures. Heart burn is a very common symptom. In US alone more than 60 million people experience heart burn at least once a month, which explains how common the problem is.ID-10042977

Smoking and heart burn:

You might be surprised to know that smoking can trigger heart burn. It (GERD and heart burn) is just another reason for you to quit smoking. Smoking can trigger heart burn in various ways, such as smoking weakens gastro-esophageal sphincter (or lower esophageal sphincter or LES) which act as valve for foods and other stomach content and prevent entry of stomach content into esophagus. Weakening of gastro-esophageal sphincter may lead to entry of stomach contents (including gastric acid) into esophagus and cause heart burn. Smoking also cause fat-digesting bile salts to enter from the small intestine to the stomach. Smoking reduce production of saliva, which normally flushes stomach acid out of the esophagus and contains a natural acid-fighter, bicarbonate. Hence, it is time to quit smoking.

Stress and heart burn:

Stress can trigger heart burn. But it is not that everybody who is under stress will get heart burn, as the direct link cannot be easily traced, stress as heart burn trigger. However, there seem to be strong relationship between stress and heart burn. In one study it was seen that stressed people are more sensitive to pain, which may be another reason of stress as trigger of heart burn.

Fish oil supplement and heart burn:

Fish oil supplements containing omega-3-fatty acid can trigger heart burn, although it has many health benefits such as cardiovascular problems and many other health conditions. The oil of fish seem to be the culprit to trigger heart burn and not the fish itself.

Pills and heart burn:

Commonly used painkillers (such as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are available OTC (over the counter) can trigger heart burn. So, think twice before gulping a painkiller pill next time, as it may trigger heart burn. There are also many other commonly prescribed medications (such as calcium channel blockers used for hypertension, bronchodilators used for bronchial asthma etc.) that can trigger heart burn. Hence, consult your doctor, before taking any medication, if it may trigger heart burn.

Obesity and heart burn:

The higher your BMI (body mass index), the greater is the risk of heart burn. The risk of heart burn is directly proportional to increased BMI, as seen in several studies. The actual explanation of increased risk of GERD and heart burn with increase in BMI is not easy to explain. Poor diet, excess abdominal fat, various chemicals released by body have been implicated, but could not be proved directly. However, there is strong association between increased BMI (obesity) and increased risk of GERD and heart burn, especially among women.

Image courtesy of [digitalart] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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