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Is Heartburn Ever a Serious Health Problem?

Is Heartburn Ever a Serious Health Problem?

Like most people, you’ve probably experienced occasional bouts of heartburn. You may have felt burning in your throat or chest after a large meal. Or maybe you’ve noticed an acidic taste in your mouth when lying down after a snack.

Having a bit of heartburn once in a while is typically not a cause for concern. But you may wonder if you’re at risk of it developing into a serious health condition.

The fact is, although sporadic heartburn is usually not something to worry about, there are situations in which heartburn can create a bigger medical concern.

If you’re interested in finding out more about when heartburn becomes a concern, the care providers at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, would like to share some information with you. Here, they offer insights into the potential seriousness of this common condition.

A problem with many names

Heartburn is another name for gastroesophageal reflux (GER). You may also have heard it referred to as acid indigestion, reflux, or acid reflux.

Heartburn occurs when the highly acidic contents of your stomach are pushed up into your esophagus or throat. When this happens, stomach acid may cause a burning sensation in your chest or throat.

Although occasional bouts of heartburn are usually harmless, chronic heartburn can cause a potentially more serious condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). An estimated 20% of individuals in the United States live with GERD.

Over time, GERD can cause chronic symptoms. In addition to a burning feeling in the chest and throat, GERD can cause chest pain that, for some people, can feel quite uncomfortable. In fact, GERD pain can be so severe that it can be mistaken for a heart attack. 

GERD complications

In addition to burning, pain, and other signs of discomfort, GERD may cause the following complications:

Nighttime acid reflux can also cause symptoms like laryngitis and new or worsening cases of asthma.

Barrett’s esophagus and cancer

Chronic heartburn or GERD may raise your risk of developing a potentially serious condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. With Barrett’s, the tissue that lines your esophagus breaks down and is replaced with the type of tissue that should grow only in your intestine. 

When this happens, you have an elevated chance of developing a rare type of cancer in your esophagus.

Getting heartburn under control

If you’re experiencing chronic heartburn or if you have GERD, the providers at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness can help. After evaluating your esophageal health and asking you about your symptoms, our customized treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

Schedule a heartburn evaluation today

Don’t put up with heartburn symptoms any longer. To make an appointment with the experienced care providers at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic, call 210-568-5816 or request an appointment here on our website.

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