What is the Difference between Heartburn and GERD?

You must have heard of doctors talking about GERD while advising you about heartburn. Many think that heartburn and gerd are two separate diseases. However, it is not so - it is the same thing. Heartburn is also known as GERD in medical terms, which is the short for gastro esophageal reflux disease.

Why Does Heartburn Occur?

Now that you know that heartburn and gerd are the same, let us check out what causes this disease and what its symptoms are. You may like to note here that heartburn and gerd being synonyms can be used alternatively. GERD occurs normally when the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) swings inwards to allow the acid and undigested foods from the stomach rush back into the mouth. The esophagus not being prepared for this assault burns and hurts terribly when this happens.

The weak sphincter has to be strengthened for the heartburn and gerd to be prevented. There is an extremely unpleasant taste and feeling post the regurgitation because the acid and bile mixed return to the mouth from the stomach. The best way to avoid this occurrence is to ensure that you avoid food that triggers it. In order to treat it after it happens, you should always have some prescribed medicines that you can have as soon as you feel the acidity.

How Can Heartburn and Gerd Be Avoided?

When you find that you have repeated heartburn attacks, you should try and identify the triggers. These would normally be certain foods, that if avoided can spare of a lot of pain and discomfort. Otherwise, you could have some over-the-counter antacids or physician prescribed medications. These could be very useful to counteract the symptoms and give you instant relief.

The best cure of any disease is its prevention. Hence, the best way to cure heartburn and gerd is to avoid it altogether. There are very simple rules to follow to achieve this- see how many you can adopt:

1. Keep your weight under control; overweight people have a higher probability of developing heartburn problems than people who have a healthy body mass index.

2. If you are smoking, stop doing so immediately.

3. Drastically reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption as well.

4. Let at least two hours elapse after you finish your dinner.

5. Always wear loose fitting clothes, since tight ones aggravate and promote acidity.