Heartburn: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

You know that more than 40% of Americans suffer from heartburn, myself included, and what we want to show you exactly why that happens but more importantly, how to avoid it So isn't this cool Judy This is, I love it

(clapping) We're revisiting chem 1 Yes This is a little model we're gonna use we're gonna show you what happens when you get heartburn and gastroesophageal reflex This is your esophagus, this is your feeding tube, you swallow food it goes down into the round part of our beaker here, that's your stomach The contents obviously are not supposed to come back up into your esophagus

Sitting in your stomach you have a combination of digested food, you have acid enzymes, very acidic If you ingest something that has a little kick to it something that aggravates your heartburn, this is what's going to happen Whoa (audience gasps) That's a bad case of heartburn Science! (audience applause) Heartburn keeps going and going and going as you can see your having this reaction come up into your esophagus, that's what's giving you that feeling into your chest, that burning feeling, and why is that happening, it's caused by that acid that I told you was sitting in your stomach, it backs up into your esophagus

And a couple reasons, that as we age, there's a muscle here at the base of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter One of two things, it can weaken, or it just relaxes too frequently And as you age, I can attest to this, I never had heartburn growing up but as we age a little bit, I think this loosens up, more likely to get heartburn So a real, real common problem And lifestyle tips can absolutely help you do not want to go spend a long period of life dealing with heartburn because over time the acidity can actually cause changes to the lining of your esophagus

Some lifestyle tips for those of you out there who are trying to prevent heartburn after dinner One of the biggest ones is to wait to lie down I always say after dinner is a wonderful time to go for a stroll with your family because if you lie down what happens is gravity plays a roll You know when your standing up food wants to go down, when your laying back food potentially wants to come up And then also people should change how you eat, if your eating really big meals at night and you notice that that's when your heartburn is at it's worst, smaller meals spaced throughout the day

And then certain foods are triggers for people, for some people you mentioned the spicy, the spicy dish Look if spicy foods trigger it for you, sometimes caffeinated foods, chocolate, just figure out what your triggers are– Especially high proof alcohol (laughs) High proof alcohol burns going down and I mean it's both ways (laughing) It's the double whammy It's like woo hoo! So be aware of that, and then for people with really bad heartburn your doc might actually suggest you sleep with your upper body slightly elevated, again using gravity to help

But over the long term if your suffering or not sure that it is even heartburn make sure you get the proper diagnosis

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