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Common Sense on Acid-Reflux

August 21, 2016
Plain English Version

Acid refluxAcid-reflux is epidemic. Studies show as many as 40 percent of Americans suffer from it. Reflux symptoms may include heartburn, indigestion, postnasal drip, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, chronic throat clearing, coughing and asthma. Reflux can lead to esophageal cancer. The number of people with esophageal cancer is growing dramatically.

The use of anti-reflux medication does not appear to entirely control the disease. Experts know the most important cause of the disease. It is the American diet. It is a diet that is rich in sugar, fat and processed foods.

There is one more reason why acid-reflux is so common. Americans are eating dinner much later than they used to eat. People are working longer hours. They shop and exercise before they go home for the evening. Children are coming home later from after-school activities. Homework and social networking may occur before eating.

One solution: eat dinner earlier and in smaller portions. People are skimping on breakfast and lunch. Then they eat a heavy, late dinner as their primary meal. Then they lie down on the sofa to watch television. It is important to stay upright after you eat. Reflux is the result of acid spilling out of your stomach. Gravity will keep the acid in your stomach.

Rich desserts contribute to acid-reflux. Mints and chocolate are bad things to eat, and soft drinks, and alcohol are bad things to drink.

Younger people digest their food more quickly. Adults should stop eating at least three hours before they go to bed.

In other words, changes in life-style and diet will make a difference. It is one area where medication, surgery, and even exercises will not do as much as one can do for oneself.

Source: The New York Times October 25, 2014

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