Heartburn affects over 60 million Americans every week and worldwide the figure is into the several hundred millions. Some may have had advanced diagnosis of their condition, but many others will not completely understand the nature of heartburn and may not have made an accurate self diagnosis.
How do you know if you have heartburn? Fortunately, heartburn, also known as GERD or acid reflux, is very simply and easily diagnosed, thus easily answering the question, how do you know if you have heartburn, for the millions of sufferers of this condition who are not aware of it.
Basic symptoms of heartburn
The basic symptoms of heartburn are a burning sensation in the upper region of the chest which is usually painful and an unwanted irritation.
Sometimes, the symptoms can include the regurgitation of acid, all the way to the back of the mouth, usually tasting bad.
Advanced symptoms of heartburn
Although the basic symptoms above account for the vast majority of heartburn cases, there are other symptoms which can manifest on occasions.
Sometimes, the burning sensation in the chest can spread further afield.
Also, sufferers can experience hoarseness of voice when waking, or difficulty swallowing. For some, this can also feel like there is an obstruction in the throat.
Heart attack or heartburn?
Heartburn actually has nothing to do with the organ itself, the heart. Do not confuse the symptoms of heartburn with those of a heart attack.
Sufferers can experience symptoms of heartburn on a regular basis, unlike those of a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms usually, but not always, include a crushing pressure in the chest, diziness, irregular pulse and dizziness. These symptoms are not usually associated with heartburn.
If in doubt about your symptoms, consult your doctor.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for sufferers of heartburn. The more popular treatments include:
- antacids to "mop up" excess acid - popular and easily available
- lifestyle changes such as sleeping arrangements (e.g. raising end of bed) and exercise
- change in diet to eliminate and target problematic foods e.g. spicy foods
- drugs that cut off acid production, both over and under the counter
- rarely, surgery for advanced and prolonged cases
About the author:
Richard Smith is a long term sufferer of heartburn and maintains a regularly updated heartburn and acid reflux website.
Visit Acid Reflux Treatment to learn more about heartburn symptoms and treatments.
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