Heartburn is the most common symptom that occurs in acid reflux disease. Many symptoms that occur in heartburn also occur in acid reflux disease.
However, if heartburn and its symptoms are severe and occur periodically in a person, it could be the sign of acid reflux disease. Only a doctor can give an absolute diagnosis on whether or not the persistent heartburns and its other symptoms are due to acid reflux disease.
Understanding heartburn and its symptoms
Heartburn is the burning sensation that occurs in the chest due to reflux of stomach acids back into the esophagus. Heartburn occurs as a result of irregular and unhealthy eating habits, certain medical conditions such as pregnancy, or as a result of certain medications.
Symptoms of heartburn
- A burning feeling that starts in the chest, just behind the breastbone, occurring immediately after having food and lasting a few minutes to several hours.
- A burning feeling in the throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
- Chronic coughing
- Loss of voice for no apparent reason
- Wheezing or other asthma-like symptoms
- In babies, spitting up or throwing up almost after every meal
Understanding acid reflux disease and its symptoms
Acid reflux disease is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach travels back from the stomach into the esophagus. The liquid content can damage the lining of the esophagus and cause inflammations. The liquid content usually comprises of
- Stomach acids
- Pepsin, an enzyme used to digest proteins in the stomach
- Bile that has backed up from the duodenum
Of these, the acids are the most damaging to the esophageal lining.
Symptoms of acid reflux disease
- Regurgitation i.e. bringing food back up into the mouth
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth due to regurgitation
- Chest pain.
- Difficulty in swallowing also known as dysphagia
- Hoarseness, dental erosion and asthma due to acidic juices that make their way into the throat, mouth and air passages of the lungs
- Persistent cough
- Stomach upsets
Common symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux disease
The following factors contribute to both heartburn and acid reflux disease
- Fatty foods, cigarettes, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, obesity, pregnancy and delayed stomach emptying
- A stomach full of food and acid when the patient lies down immediately after having a meal
- Weakening of esophageal sphincter valve due to pregnancy hormones or other conditions, causing stomach acids to seep back into the esophagus
Heartburn in itself is a big symptom of acid reflux disease. Both heartburn and acid reflux disease share common symptoms. Therefore what needs to be taken into account is the intensity and frequency of the heartburn and other symptoms. When symptoms are sever and persistent, a doctor must be consulted to verify the possibility of acid reflux disease.
Heartburn – A good sign of acid reflux disease
The reflux of stomach acids happen commonly in most people, causing heartburns. However only when the acids stay longer in the esophagus and there is persistent heartburns as well as other symptoms occurring can one suspect it to be acid reflux disease. Heartburns are undoubtedly common in acid reflux disease and hence it is best to consult a doctor to confirm of the presence of acid reflux disease and take appropriate actions immediately.