The human body is a very complex machine and it can be very difficult to fully understand what every twinge, twist, pinch, or pain may mean. Quite often when a pain is not severe, we will pass it off as something unimportant and not recognize when we're dealing with something more serious. This is often the case when we're dealing with heartburn. Many people do not realize that heartburn can be an indication of other more serious medical conditions that need to be addressed. Knowing the heartburn causes and treatment and understanding the differences could very well help to keep us alive and healthy.
Main Cause of Heartburn
It may help to understand what heartburn really is. This way you'll be better able to identify when the common symptoms of heartburn are associated with other more serious warning signs.
Heartburn is described as a burning pain in the chest. This is often the result of stomach acid that has come back up into the upper body through your esophageal sphincter that did not close properly. While in most cases, this rather unpleasant sensation is little more than a temporary discomfort there are times when the condition needs to be taken much more seriously. The question is at what point do you put down the antacid and get to the doctor?
When You Should Go to the Emergency Room
It's a given that everyone will have heartburn at one point or another but only you know when the pain is more severe than normal. If that happens head straight to the emergency room, it could be something much more serious than you realize. You should also go if dizziness, sweating, or a shortness of breath accompanies the heartburn. Any of these symptoms could be an indication of a heart attack or a dangerous reaction to certain medications.
A Persistent Cough
Another thing to look for in heartburn causes and treatment is a persistent cough that just doesn't seem to go away. This could be the result of any number of medical conditions from a respiratory tract infection to bronchitis. Most people don't associate their cough with heartburn but it could also be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This type of heartburn could be affected by your asthma or other respiratory condition.
For a common case of heartburn, it should go away with the use of a simple antacid. However, if you're having frequent heartburn and the antacids are not giving you relief you may need a stronger medication from your doctor. These drugs are designed to reduce the amount of gastric acid your stomach produces. While these medications are quite effective they do not come without side effects. In order for your body to lower its amount of gastric acid it will absorb less calcium from your diet putting you at a higher risk of osteoporosis and other negative side effects.
True, dealing with heartburn is a common problem that we all must face from time to time. But it is important to fully recognize heartburn causes and treatment so that you'll know the warning signs that indicate you should seek medical help to give you the relief you need.