September 8, 2010

What Does Acid Reflux Feel Like?

According the studies done by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million deal with it every day.

For all you statistic buffs out there, that breaks down to about 1 out of 18 people in the U.S. suffer from dreaded heartburn, also known as acid reflux disease.

The exact cause of acid reflux is still arguable, but most doctors will agree on one of two major causes.

1) Too much stomach acid

2) Too little stomach acid

It may surprise you but more people are suffering from a stomach acid deficiency than from an over production of stomach acid.

Regardless of the cause, acid reflux is one of the most unpleasant human sensations and taste experiences you?ll ever have.

Imagine a caustic acid so powerful it will ?etch glass,? erupting like chemical lava up into the most sensitive and delicate parts of your body . . . your throat, mouth and nose.

There?s a good reason acid reflux disease is commonly called heartburn . . . your stomach acid is a caustic acid that can seriously burn and scar you.

Your stomach has a triple layer of cells and inside the inner most layer are the ?parietal cells? which create the hydrochloric acid. This digestive acid is vital for the proper digestion of food. Your stomach acid doesn?t just dissolve your food . . . it chemically breaks it down all the way to the molecular level.

In fact one drop of your stomach acid will burn through wood.

Imagine this gastric acid being forced through your esophagus over and over again.

Industrial uses of hydrochloric acid include drain cleaners, leather processing and ?pickling? steel to remove rust.

This is why acid reflux disease and chronic heartburn can lead to worse conditions like Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and even cancer. In the case of GERD, the throat becomes so chemically eroded by gastric acid that it actually mutates into a tough lining just like the stomach lining. Ignored this type of cellular mutation can change into throat cancer.

Now in case you?re still curious, let me explain how a lack of stomach acid can trigger a gastroesophageal reflux from acid indigestion.

Your digestive acids are made from fluids in your gall bladder, pancreas and bile ducts which require minerals, nutrients and enzymes for the cells inside your upper stomach to create the final gastric acid product.

After years of eating processed foods and foods high in animal fats, these minerals, nutrients and enzymes become depleted.

Now picture all the food you eat piling up inside your gut, causing that bloating, gassy feeling from being full all the time.

You see a lack of digestive stomach acid will slow down digestion causing flatulence, nausea and a gaseous stomach. All this food creates pressure and stress forcing your body to make sporadic bursts of gastric acid . . . causing the heartburn sensation.

Keep in mind these ?parietal cells? that make this caustic digestive juice are located near the top of your stomach, which means its right next to your esophagus.

So it?s easy to imagine them a little stressed out, and even in a biological state of emergency, to the point where they briefly secrete generous amounts of gastric acid, which then just sits on top of that gigantic heap of undigested food stuff.

That?s why antacids don?t cure heartburn, they only inflame it.

Whether you make too much digestive acid or not enough the worst thing you can do is eat and then lay down. This makes it even easier for the acid to reflux up into your throat and mouth, even discoloring your teeth and most definitely ruin your once baby-sweet breath for the rest of the day.

Live well,

Todd M. Faass?

Health Ecologist

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