Statistics tell us that heartburn is one of the most frequent digestive disorders in the US.
You need to be very careful with this condition, because if you leave it untreated, the acid reflux can cause damage and irritation to the lungs, throat and vocal cords, and they can also cause ulcers, breathing problems and pneumonia. This is a condition that can become unmanageable very quickly, because it can prevent the people that are suffering from it, have a normal life. They will experience severe chest pain after the meals and during the night.
There are more than 15 million Americans that rely on heartburn medications. These medications are prescribed by their doctors, in an attempt to put this condition under control. Proton pump inhibitors are the main medications for this issue, and they are currently the most prescribed drugs on the planet.
How do these medications work?
There are large number of different types of heart medications that are on sale today. Some of them like pesto-bismol, can be taken without prescription, and others like Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec, can only be bought through prescription.
PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) reduce the production of stomach acid. It is important to remember that these medications are not safe, because they can have some side effects.
Risks that are associated with these medications:
- Heart disease – Scientists from the Stanford University conducted a study which showed that people who are suffering from GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), and took PPIs, increased their chances of having a heart attack by 16%. According to other studies, this medication can lead to cardiovascular problems. They show that the PPIs can reduce the levels of nitric oxide, which is a chemical that relaxes and protects the blood vessels, thus, affecting their overall health. Dr. John Cooke stated that PPI users are more likely to suffer a heart attack than the people suffering from heartburn who are not taking these medications.
- Kidneys disease – A group of experts at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of health, analyzed a data that represented around 250,000 people. They tried to find a connection between kidney problems and PPI use. They have discovered that regular PPI users have 13% higher chance of developing kidney diseases than the people that are having acid reflux and are not PPI users.
- Fracture risk – It is important to remember that the FDA issued many warnings about bone fractures and osteoporosis that are linked with PPI use. If a patient is a PPI user for more than 7 years, it makes him twice as likely to suffer from osteoporosis, or a fracture that is associated with osteoporosis. Five years of regular use can also lead to increased chances of hip fractures.
- Malabsorption of nutrients – Stomach acid is very important for the human body, because it helps absorb magnesium and vitamin B12. This can lead to:
- Muscle spasms
- Nerve damage
- Psychiatric problems
These medications can cause these problems in the first year of use.
Tips on how to manage acid reflux
- You can fix your acid reflux problem by taking half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in water. You need to do this after the meals, and repeat the method every 2 hours until the symptoms are gone. Your kidneys are naturally producing sodium bicarbonate, which can neutralize the excess of acid.
- Heartburn can also be caused if your body does not produce enough stomach acid. When this happens, it cannot properly digest the food. The experts say that the people that are facing this problem are mostly over 50 years old. To treat this problem, you can drink one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, mixed in eight ounces of water. Do this before every meal.