Untreated heartburn leads to an increased risk of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and certain forms of cancer. Recent studies have shown support for the idea that constant heartburn may indeed be symptomatic of esophageal and stomach cancer.
Heartburn is usually characterized by a burning pain just behind the breastbone, which is often worse when you are bending over or lying down. Occasional heartburn is very common and not a cause for concern; in fact every one of us has experienced heartburn at some point in time. People deal with this pain by taking over the counter drugs and making certain lifestyle changes.
Stomach is an organ that is responsible for breaking down the food we consume and as such has certain acids present in it. When these stomach acids are regurgitated into your esophagus, it causes the burning pain that is heartburn. This isn’t actually regarded as a disease but may be a symptom for something worse. So it is imperative that you do not ignore heartburn and take medications immediately.
If you suffer from heartburn once in a blue moon, try to avoid taking over the counter medications because they may harm your immune system. There are various natural home remedies such as aloe vera juice or something as simple as a banana that helps you with the burning pain. However, if you have been experiencing severe pain for a couple of days or weeks, seek help from a doctor immediately as this might be your body’s way of showing that something is very wrong.
For most people suffering from heartburn, the pain only lasts for a short duration and disappears after a few hours or so. Treatment plans for heartburn include over the counter medications that contain calcium carbonate and making various lifestyle changes. There are certain foods as well as drinks that can act as a trigger for heartburn. Some of the examples of such foods include spicy foods, citrus products, peppermint, onions, fried foods, alcohol, and chocolate. So try and avoid these foods if you are prone to heartburn.
When heartburn stops being a fleeting annoyance and turns into a lifestyle issue, it may be a cause for alarm. In simple terms, if the heartburn lasts for more than two or three weeks, it may very well be an indication of a graver disorder. According to a team of UK health experts, heartburn can be one of the early symptoms of stomach cancer. The National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, Professor Kevin Fenton, said, “People may be reluctant to visit their doctor about persistent heartburn, thinking that it’s something they just have to live with. But heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more could be a sign of cancer.”
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) as well as Public Health England (PHE), the symptoms of esophageal and stomach cancer include poor digestion over a period of three weeks or more, losing weight for no apparent reason, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain and discomfort, frequent burping, and the feeling that there is something stuck in your throat whenever you swallow. Heartburn which was previously termed as a very common discomfort, has now turned into a major warning sign of stomach cancer. A recent poll conducted by the ACS showed that around 44 percent of adults in the country suffer from heartburn and poor digestion at least once every month, and approximately 30 percent of the cases of stomach and esophageal cancer can be associated with it.
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