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Stop Ignoring Your Heartburn! It Can Be A Serious Chronic Disease

Stop Ignoring Your Heartburn! It Can Be A Serious Chronic Disease

Many of us have suffered the uncomfortable sensation of heartburn from time to time – that burning feeling in the chest that can last from a few minutes to several hours after eating. Many people will assume it’s acid reflux, which if only occasionally experienced, could well be.

However, if you find you get heartburn quite often, it could be a more chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which also has heartburn as a symptom but carries more serious consequences, if not treated.

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What Is The Difference Between GERD and Acid Reflux?

Knowing the difference between GERD and acid reflux is important because the occasional bout of heartburn could just be triggered by certain foods but GERD is much more serious and could cause swelling in the oesophagus together with frequent heartburns that last longer and won’t go away with over-the-counter remedies. If acid is continuously in contact with the lining of the oesophagus, it will cause bleeding, ulcers and scarring.

Acid reflux occurs when the muscle situated between your stomach and oesophagus, known as the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES), becomes weak. Its purpose is to close off the oesophagus after the food has passed to the stomach and any weakness in the muscle can increase the risk of stomach acid getting exposed to the oesophagus. Acid reflux is when the stomach acid moves backwards and burns the delicate lining of the oesophagus causing heartburn.

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GERD happens when the lining of the oesophagus is extremely sensitive and starts to cause other symptoms such as feelings of regurgitation, chest pain, trouble swallowing, ulcers and dry coughs. If you find you experience heartburn more than twice a week, it would be advised to seek a medical consultation to find the root cause of the heartburn.

How Can I Deal With Acid Reflux?

There are many factors that can increase the chances of acid reflux. Pinpointing these can help to relieve symptoms and stop acid reflux altogether.

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  1. Diet: Probably the most common cause is the types of food and drink we consume. Fizzy drinks, alcohol and fatty foods can all contribute to acid reflux. Also consuming big portions in one sitting or lying down after eating can allow acid to enter the oesophagus more easily.
  2. Smoking: Lighting up those cigarettes on a regular basis can cause the mucus membranes to get damaged and, in turn, increases acid production. It also reduces saliva production in the mouth which normally neutralises the acid.
  3. Weight: Having excess fat on our bodies puts a huge strain on our organs and the efficiency at which they work. Being overweight or obese puts pressure on the stomach and increases the chances of acid reflux occurring.
  4. Hiatal hernias: These can happen to anyone at any age. It’s when part of the stomach squeezes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. No one quite knows what causes a hiatal hernia but it can be dealt with by eating smaller portions, avoiding lying down after eating and removing certain foods or drinks that make the symptoms worse.
  5. Yoga: Yoga is something that can be attempted by anyone and can be extremely beneficial. Some believe certain yoga poses can help to lessen the chance of acid reflux.

What Can I Do If I Have Acid Reflux Regularly?

If you have chronic acid reflux, then the chances are it has developed into GERD and it is advised to seek medical assistance. Treatment for GERD is aimed at decreasing the amount of reflux or reducing damage to the lining of the oesophagus from refluxed materials. Extreme cases will see the use of prescription medication or surgery but simple lifestyle changes can help towards lessening the discomfort.

The treatment for acid reflux can be applied to GERD with special emphasis on the types of food and drink you consume. Anything that could potentially weaken the LES muscle including chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcohol, along with acidic products that can irritate such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and pepper, should be avoided.

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Experiencing the discomfort that comes with acid reflux and GERD should never be ignored so make sure you change your lifestyle or seek medical advice. Your quality of life is important and essential to your overall well-being and happiness.

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    Jenny Marchal

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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