REDLANDS, Calif.-- This Thanksgiving, millions will be facedwith a feast of meats, an assortment of beverages, a plethora of sweet
and salty sides-- and what do you have -- a recipe for heartburn. In an
effort to ease the pain for heartburn sufferers on Thanksgiving Day, Dr.
Mark Gabriel, gastroenterologist at Redlands Community Hospital, offers
important tips to help prevent the big burn.
“All of the ingredients in a Thanksgiving dinner may exacerbate heartburn
or stomach problems,” said Dr. Gabriel. “Heartburn is one
of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the world with more than
25 million Americans suffering from the condition on a daily basis.”
According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), more than
60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn. About 7%
of people suffer from it daily and twice as many have it weekly. Heartburn,
the most common symptom of acid reflux, is a burning discomfort in the
chest or throat that results when harsh stomach acid comes into contact
with and irritates the delicate lining of the esophagus.
According to Dr. Gabriel, those who experience frequent heartburn over
an extended period of time may be exposing their esophagus to permanent
damage, and even possibly, but rarely esophageal cancer if not treated
early by their physician.
Mild symptoms can be treated by taking over-the-counter medications including
Pepcid AC®, Tagamet HB® and Zantac 75® as well as making additional
your diet and lifestyle. If symptoms continue to persist after four weeks,
schedule an appointment with your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.
For those who may overindulge on Thanksgiving, Dr. Gabriel recommends
not over doing it on the rich foods and alcohol and avoid laying down
and napping after the big meal. “Lying down can send acids from
your stomach to your esophagus, causing the burning pain in heartburn.
Better to take a short walk or spend some time doing the dishes so that
you can allow your food to better digest.”
Dr. Gabriel adds, “above all, be cautious about heartburn. Heartburn
and acid reflux are sometimes mistaken for heart problems. Conversely,
serious heart problems are often brushed off as simply heartburn.”