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Home - Blog - Acid Reflux - Are Heartburn Meds Bad For You?
Are Heartburn Meds Bad For You?

Are Heartburn Meds Bad For You?

Heartburn or acid reflux is often associated with overindulgence or pregnancy.  However, it can also be an indication of more serious conditions.  If you have heartburn regularly you may be suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a digestion disorder that affects the lower oesophagal sphincter, which is a band of muscle between the oesophagus and stomach.  The ring of muscle is weakened allowing the contents of the stomach to travel back up to the oesophagus.   Many specialists believe that GERD is caused by a hiatal hernia.

Heartburn is aptly named as it causes a burning sensation in the chest.  In worst cases, it can cause coughing, nausea and vomiting.  When it is mild it is referred to as indigestion.  Stomach acid can have an adverse effect on the oesophagus leading to more serious conditions. Most heartburn can be remedied with over the counter antacids.  More severe cases require prescriptions drugs which are possibly linked to dementia.

HeartBurn Meds And Dementia

Severe heartburn is often treated with a group of medicines called proton pump inhibitors.  They work by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach.  One tablet should be taken daily after eating.  Acid Reflux medication has received increased press attention due to the reporting of studies that suggest a possible connection between proton pump inhibitors and the onset of dementia.  In order to ascertain the risk of dementia, it is imperative to look at the findings of the study.

The study was conducted in Germany with people 75 years or older as the sample group.  Participants were compared to a control group not taking proton pump inhibitors.  The study found that dementia was associated with heartburn medication but there was no proof of a definite link.  Doctors conducting the study, however, suggest that their colleagues make their patients aware of a possible link so that they can choose whether to risk taking the medication or not.  Patients are encouraged to reduce their use of medication and consider natural ways to reduce their symptoms.

Ways To Avoid Heartburn

In order to reduce the number of proton pump inhibitors needed to be taken the following steps can be followed to reduce symptoms-

  • Avoid lying down straight after eating.
  • Avoid alcohol, chocolate and cigarettes.
  • Avoid anti inflammatories.
  • Avoid asthma triggers (asthma medication can contribute to acid reflux).
  • Avoid a high fat spicy diet.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Raise your head when sleeping.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

If symptoms persist it is important to consult your doctor who will be able to give you the best advice regarding the treatment of heartburn.  When taken sparingly and making measures to reduce symptoms heartburn meds will be beneficial to your health.  To review and purchase treatment for heartburn click here.

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