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There are three classifications of drugs which treat and heartburn. The first of these are antacids, which neutralize the acid in your stomach and are at best only a temporary fix. They are loaded with harmful ingredients such as sodium and aluminum. The next group of drugs is called H2 Blockers. They reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces and provide longer lasting relief than antacids. Finally there are the PPI drugs (proton pump inhibitors), which shut off the proton pumps in the stomach that manufacture hydrochloric acid.
PPI drugs should only be used for eight weeks, at most. It says so right on the package. Doctors certainly know this but allow if not encourage most patients to continue taking these drugs on a permanent basis.
PPI drugs actually shut down the pumps that produce the stomach acid necessary to digest and assimilate food. This is an essential function of our physical anatomy. Another point of concern is that stomach acid keeps very dangerous bacteria, which live in the stomach and intestines, in check.
There are, unfortunately, no studies that can determine the long term effects of these drugs. We do, however, know what the potential harmful side effects are and there are hundreds of them. They include: allergic reaction, back and chest pain, fatigue, fever, flu-like disorder, hypertension, constipation, GI hemorrhage, vomiting, tinnitus, anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, weight gain, arthritis, fibromyalgia syndrome, anorexia, depression, dizziness, impotence, insomnia, migraine, visual field defect, menstrual disorder, asthma aggravated, pharyngitis, acne, taste loss, fungal infection and Barrett’s esophagus – just to mention a few!
The medical community would have us believe that drugs are the only answer to the problem of heartburn. Doctors are not taught nutrition or natural healing techniques in med school. As a result they depend on prescription drugs to treat the symptoms of heartburn. They unfortunately know nothing about how to cure the condition itself.
PPI drugs are very big business. Annual global sales for PPI drugs alone reached well over six billion dollars in 2002. One can only guess what those statistics are today. One can only imagine the extent of the damage these drugs are causing people all over the world.
Happily, we are not limited to pharmaceuticals in order to rid ourselves of heartburn. There are many alternative techniques and procedures which can be employed to accomplish that end. As a veteran of the acid reflux drug battle, I am living proof that one can heal themselves of acid reflux by using what I call natural medicine.
Heartburn can become a very serious life threatening matter. When left unchecked this condition can develop into Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.
The human body was designed to keep gastric acid in the stomach where it belongs. Its function is to sterilize and digest what we eat and drink. Stomach acid is mainly composed of hydrochloric acid which is a very powerful corrosive agent.
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscular valve at the bottom of the esophagus which allows ingested material to move into the stomach. It is designed to close and keep this material from coming back up. Most people who experience heartburn do so because the LES becomes relaxed and malfunctions, allowing acid to reflux.
The pain of heartburn is the result of the splashing up of fluids from the stomach into the esophagus. These stomach fluids are composed of hydrochloric acid (HCL), pepsin and occasionally bile from the liver. Stomach fluid helps break down the food we eat so that it can be digested. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach fluid helps prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying in the stomach and intestines.
Heartburn symptoms include; chest pain, regurgitation of hydrochloric acid and difficulty swallowing. Other problems can be a lack of sleep, nausea, labored breathing and abdominal pain.
Where the stomach has an acid proof lining, the LES does not, and is easily damaged by stomach acid. Why the world is being plagued by this phenomenon is quite a mystery, but it is estimated that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from the symptoms of this disorder. The medical community relies on pharmaceutical drugs to treat these symptoms. Unfortunately, most doctors have no knowledge of nutrition or alternative natural therapy. In most cases, their job is to treat symptoms, not to cure disease.
Common sense would dictate that heartburn has everything to do with what we eat and drink. It is, however, more complicated than that. It has a lot to do with how we eat and drink, as well. Most of us know that there are certain foods that we find difficult, as individuals, to digest. Everyone is different.
At least 50 million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month and half that number experience heartburn every ay. Although hydrochloric acid also helps the body absorb vitamins and nutrients, it is very strong and corrosive. The stomach holds this powerful acid in check with a special protective lining. The esophagus, however, does not have this protection. It is when acid splashes up through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the esophagus that we have the problems of heartburn.
As food travels from the mouth down to the stomach, the LES opens and allows food to enter the stomach. Then it narrows and closes, and restricts the food from returning up into the esophagus. When the LES is not operating properly and opens when it should not, hydrochloric acid and other stomach fluids splash up into the esophagus. This causes the burning sensation of acid reflux, gerd, heartburn and indigestion.
Heartburn can lead to a very dangerous condition. If left unchecked, heartburn can develope into Barrett's Esophagus which it the precursor to esophageal cancer. The symptoms of acid reflux can be treated with drugs, hower they do not heal acid reflux. They only mask the symptoms of acid refux. Drugs that disable the acid pumps in the stomach actually impeede the proper digestion of food and allow dangerous bacteria to over populate the digestive track. Heartburn can best be treated with natural cure and remedies.