It felt like I was having a heart attack! This is how many describe heartburn -- that burning sensation in your chest that moves upwards towards your throat. Heartburn is not a disease. It is a symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve located between the esophagus and the stomach, weakens and allows acidic stomach contents to back flow up into the esophagus.
The World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) has identified an increasing prevalence of GERD around the globe. Although it is not exactly clear why GERD is on the rise, researchers believe it may be related to increasing obesity rates and poor diet.
May 29th is World Digestive Health Day. On this day, the WGO and the CDHF want to raise awareness of heartburn and GERD and offer solutions.
GERD symptoms can often be misinterpreted and their impact misunderstood by those living with the disease. GERD symptoms include:
- acid reflux
- excessive burping
- bloating or gas
GERD can be manage and you can live a healthy, active life while living with the disease. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and reducing foods that might trigger symptoms such as alcohol, greasy or spicy foods, citrus foods and caffeine products may help minimize symptoms.
Quick tips to manage GERD symptoms....
- eat small, frequent meals
- avoid lying down after meals
- eat 3-4 hours before bed
- elevate your upper body with a foam wedge while in bed
- lie on your left side rather than your right
When you should see a physician....
If you experience acid reflux or heartburn more than 2 times a week, experience weight loss, vomiting, bring up blood or pass black stools, you need to make an appointment to see your health care provider.
Come on....let's ride!
It's time to hit the road in preparation for the annual CDHF RISE Revolution Cycle. It's exciting. It's fun. And, it raises funds for CDHF programs and research. With 25, 50 and 100 mile routes, through the beautiful hills and valleys of the Blue Mountains in Collingwood, ON, there is a ride for everyone this September.