Chronic Heartburn: How can diet and lifestyle help?

Aon Health & Wellbeing Conversation #8

Do you sometimes feel a tingling sensation in your throat after you’ve had a meal? Perhaps, you may have experienced a burning sensation in your chest? Regular heartburn is a symptom of chronic acid reflux, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
GERD occurs when there is frequent backflow of stomach acid to the oesophagus, brought about by the weakening or relaxation of the lower oesophageal valve or sphincter.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Diagram
If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious conditions including ulcers, scarring in the oesophagus, lung disease, chronic cough, gum disease and other dental problems.
GERD, like many ailments, is primarily caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices. These include regular consumption of foods which are high in fats, spicy, citrusy and/or minty, and drinks that are caffeinated and/or carbonated. GERD can also strike if one regularly eats large meals before bedtime or lays or bends over after eating. Poor lifestyle habits such as stress and smoking are also triggers.
So how do you know if you have GERD? Symptoms include:
  • Burning chest pain, above the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Feeling of food stuck in the middle of your chest
  • Bad breath
  • Dental issues such as wearing-away of teeth
  • Respiratory problems
Gastrointestinal issues such as GERD may be easily countered by good diet and lifestyle habits! In fact, this would be the first-line therapy your doctors would recommend.
How can you keep your gastrointestinal health in check?
Here are a few tips:
Tips: How can you keep your gastrointestinal health in check?  
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