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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

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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