Possible Complications of Heartburn

Most people experience heartburn from time to time. Aptly named for the burning sensation that arises in your chest, heartburn occurs because stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. 

Your esophagus runs from your mouth to your stomach, attaching at a junction known as the lower esophageal — or cardiac — sphincter. This muscular ring closes when food passes from the esophagus into the stomach. However, if the lower esophageal sphincter fails to function properly, your stomach contents can leak back into your esophagus. 

When exposed to stomach acids, the esophagus becomes irritated, triggering the symptoms seen with heartburn. As a result, these symptoms often develop after eating or at night, and, in many cases, grow worse when you bend over or lie down.

While heartburn is common, having frequent problems can put you at risk of additional health issues. 

At LoneStar Bariatrics, Dr. Chad Carlton uses a personalized approach to help his patients address chronic heartburn symptoms. If you struggle with this problem, here’s how to know when you need to schedule an appointment.

Recognizing a problem

It’s usually not a problem to have burning in your chest or a bitter taste in your throat or mouth every once in a while, especially after a big meal. However, there are times when it can indicate a more serious issue — like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Dr. Carlton recommends scheduling a consultation if you have:

You should also get medical attention immediately for chest pain or pressure accompanied by symptoms that can indicate a heart attack, like trouble breathing and discomfort in your jaw or arm.

The risks of chronic heartburn

Heartburn may seem annoying and uncomfortable, but it can also cause serious health complications. 

Exposing your esophagus to irritating stomach acids can lead to serious tissue damage and precancerous changes — a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. Additional risks seen with chronic heartburn include:

If you have asthma, living with frequent heartburn can also cause lung damage. Up to 80% of people with asthma also have GERD, unlike 20% of the general population, so people with asthma should never ignore heartburn symptoms.

Finding relief for heartburn

You can develop heartburn for several reasons, but a leading cause involves your weight. This link isn’t completely understood, but evidence points to extra pounds putting more pressure on the abdomen, even if you’re only slightly overweight.

At LoneStar Bariatrics, Dr. Carlton specializes in safe and effective weight loss solutions. Whether you have a modest amount of weight to lose or significant pounds to shed, Dr. Carlton and his team take a personalized approach to get you results and improve your overall health, including reducing heartburn symptoms.

Weight loss solutions known to relieve heartburn include:

Dr. Carlton also offers minimally invasive surgical solutions for weight loss, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch procedures.

If you have heartburn, don’t put your health at risk. Call one of our LoneStar Bariatrics offices in Plano or Waxahachie, Texas, or schedule an appointment online today.

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