Heartburn: What Is It and Why Should You Be Concerned
Whenever you drink beer, you feel something burning inside your chest located just behind your breastbone. It’s painful and it rises into the chest and radiates to your neck, throat, and angle of the jaw. You feel like vomiting but nothing comes out but just a bitter taste in your mouth.
You’ve just experienced heartburn or also known as pyrosis or acid indigestion.
Basically, heartburn is often associated with regurgitation of gastric acid or also known as acid reflux. This is why you feel a burning sensation in your chest and in your throat. This is also the reason why you taste something bitter right after the heartburn episode.
So, should you be concerned if you experience heartburn?
For starters, heartburn is a major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease. And, you need to remember that this can be misdiagnosed because the burning in the chest symptom of heartburn is also a symptom of ischemic heart disease, which is a much more serious illness.
This is why you have to go to your doctor when you experience heartburn. This way, you will be diagnosed properly and be given the proper medications for the type of disease you have.
You have to be concerned if you have heartburn because this is one of the major symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, which can lead to the inflammation of the esophagus. Also, heartburn can also be a symptom of acute myocardial infarction as well as angina.
If you have been told to administer vicous lidocaine and it relieved you of symptoms 5 to 10 minutes after the administration, it is very likely that the heartburn is esophageal in origin. But, you still have to keep in mind that this does not rule out that it can be caused by heart related illnesses or diseases.
This is primarily the reason why you have to go to the doctor in order to get it diagnosed properly and determine the cause of heartburn.
The doctor may try to diagnose you biochemically or mechanically. The biochemical method of diagnosing means that a probe will be placed via the nose and in to the esophagus. This will record the level of acidity in the lower of esophagus. This method is called Esophageal pH Monitoring, which can be sued to document acid reflux in real time.
In the mechanical method, the doctor will try a method called Manometry. This method is where the doctor will insert a pressure sensor or a manometer through the mouth and in to the esophagus. This device will measure the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter.
Another method is endoscopy. This method will allow the doctor to see the esophageal mucosa by passing a thin and lighted tube with a small camera through the mouth. This device is called endoscope and is used to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach.
Endoscopy will help the doctor see if there is any evidence of esophageal inflammation and biopsies may be taken if necessary through this method.
Treating heartburn will depend on the underlying cause. Antacids may be given to treat GERD and gastritis and antibiotics may be given if H. pylori are present or diagnosed.
Heartburn is a serious condition that you have to take seriously. Once you experience heartburn, you better get it diagnosed by your doctor to determine what’s causing it and treat it properly.