Category: Gastrointestinal

Antacids Might Increase Neck and Head Cancer Survival Rates

Antacids Might Increase Neck and Head Cancer Survival RatesHeartburn occurs commonly with radiation and chemotherapy treatments for otolaryngology, or neck and head, cancers. But a new study found that controlling gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with acid-controlling medications also may improve these patients’ overall survival chances. Antacids are relatively safe drugs that have few if any unpleasant side effects typically. Buy Nexium (Esomeprazole) to reduce the amount of acid that your stomach generates. Discover the easy and convenient ways to place your prescription order.

Positive Outcomes Rise

A research team assessed the effects of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) including Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec along with histamine 2 receptor blockers (H2 blockers) like Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac on neck or head cancer patients. Study subjects included 596 people with squamous cell carcinomas. Two-thirds used one or both antacid types following their cancer diagnoses. Compared to the one-third of untreated controls, PPIs decreased participants’ death risk by 45 percent while the H2 blocker reduction was 33 percent.

University of Michigan’s researchers suspected that antacids would affect patient outcomes favorably, according to lead study author Dr. Silvana Papagerakis. So their subject review included screening them for typical acid-neutralizing medicines, which proved helpful. Because the scientists couldn’t pinpoint the heartburn treatments’ underlying mechanisms that improved patients’ survival rates, they’ve begun searching for answers.

Patients might take these medications off and on, depending on when acid reflux symptoms occur. The investigators contend that antacids also can help stop cancers from progressing. So extended pharmacological therapy durations might affect cancer survival significantly, Papagerakis added. This study shows that heartburn drugs may provide more benefits than just minimizing cancer treatment side effects. The investigators also plan to examine whether antacids could lower neck and head cancer risks in GERD and precancerous lesion patients.

Cancer Statistics

Annually, about 50,000 Americans receive cancer diagnoses in areas above the shoulders and more than 11,000 don’t survive. For most of these patients, their cancers had already metastasized. Regional nodal involvement occurs in 43 percent while 10 percent have distant metastases. These diverse and uncommon tumors display aggressive biological behaviors frequently. Anotolaryngology cancer history may lead to a second primary tumor. Other statistics include:


Men experience 66 to 95 percent of cancers from the neck up. But 80 percent of Plummer-Vinson syndrome cases occur in women.


Risk raises with age, particularly after 50. Most patients range from 50 to 70, but younger people can develop these cancers as well.


Laryngeal cancer affects more African-Americans than Caucasians, Asians, and Hispanics. The five-year survival rate for all otolaryngology cancers is 34 percent among African-Americans and 56 percent for whites.


High incidences among urban American males may reflect alcohol and tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco (snuff) increases oral cancer risks for rural women.

Risk Factors

Drinking and smoking too much, especially together can kill youAccording to the Cancer Network, these factors increase your head and neck cancer odds:


Tumors occur mostly with tobacco use. Smoking raises the death risk by one percent per pack-year. During radiation treatment, smoking doubles the death risk.

  • Cigarettes:These tumors afflict six times as many cigarette smokers as nonsmokers. The heaviest smokers are 20 times more apt to die from laryngeal cancer. A study found that cancer patients who continue smoking during radiation therapy have double the annual odds of a second primary tumor developing than those who quit or never smoked. Unfiltered cigarettes and air-cured dark tobacco increase risks even more.
  • Cigars:Smoking cigars changes aerodigestive tract cancers’ site distribution. Cancers of the lungs, larynx, and other sites that cigarettes cause happen less with cigars, but cancer rates are higher for other areas like the oropharynx and esophagus where saliva pooling and carcinogen exposure occur.
  • Smokeless tobacco:Chewing snuff increases cancers in your oral cavity, gums, and mucous membranes. Premalignant lesions like oral leukoplakia can develop into invasive carcinomas.

Drinking can lead to laryngeal and pharyngeal tumors. Combining tobacco with alcohol multiplies your risk.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure:

Sunlight can cause lip cancer. At least one-third of these patients work outdoors.

Occupational hazards:

Research has linked nasal cancer to wood dust inhalation and maxillary sinus cancer with nickel exposure.

Radiation exposure:

This thyroid cancer risk factor also may cause salivary gland cancer.


Evidence shows that the Epstein-Barr virus can lead to nasopharyngeal cancer, and HPV may contribute to oropharyngeal cancer.


Otolaryngology cancers don’t cause symptoms always, and other conditions can produce the same signs. Consult your doctor if any of the following symptoms is troubling you:

  • Swelling or sores that won’t heal
  • White or red patch inside your mouth
  • Painful or painless bump, lump, or mass above your shoulders
  • Relentless sore throat
  • Offensive mouth odor despite good hygiene
  • Voice change or hoarseness
  • Ongoing nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Abnormal nasal discharge and/or numerous nose bleeds
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or numbness from the neck up
  • Pain or difficulties moving your tongue or jaws, chewing, or swallowing
  • Jaw and/or ear pain
  • Bloody phlegm or saliva
  • Loose teeth
  • Misfitting dentures
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Exhaustion

The 3 Habits That Cause Work Stress and Wreck Your Health

The 3 Habits That Cause Work Stress and Wreck Your HealthAmericans are stressed out. According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, almost half of Americans describe their ongoing stress levels as high, and almost 10 percent claim that their stress is extreme. While there is a wide range of causes for stress, including health problems and finances, one of the most common sources of stress is work. Both men and women, across age groups, list work as one of the primary stressors in their lives — and the problem gets worse as incomes climb.

Stress is a contributing factor in a wide range of health issues. Stress raises both cortisol and glucose production in the body, which contribute to obesity and diabetes. It also contributes to heart disease; not only does stress automatically raise blood pressure and heart rate, but it also causes cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood to increase. Excess stress is also linked to asthma, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, and an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. When combined with the behaviors that are often linked to stress, such as overeating, smoking, and drinking alcohol, it’s clear that stress is the most significant health risk that most adults face today.

Employers are especially concerned about stress and its effect on employee health. Studies show that on average, stress costs employers between $200 and $300 million annually, when you factor in absenteeism, health care costs, and costs associated with lowered productivity. Not to mention, research indicates that stressed employees are generally not high-performing employees; it’s estimated that stressed workers cost companies 40 percent more, due to poor performance. For example, stressed employees may take shortcuts, rush, or fail to do all of their work, contributing to higher costs.

But here’s the kicker: In many cases, work related stress, is our own fault. That’s right. We are doing it to ourselves. While there are certain pressures associated with work, and always will be, the high levels of stress that many of us face are actually due to our own habits. Identifying and breaking these habits can go a long way toward reducing stress, and improving overall health.

Too Much Technology

Mobile technology has made it easier than ever before to stay in touch, but unfortunately, many people have taken that to mean “Available 24/7.”  The notion of a 9 to 5 workday has, in many ways, gone the way of the dinosaur thanks to smartphones. Employees often respond to emails and text messages well after the day has ended. The result? There is little separation between work and personal life, and no chance to relax and recharge. The solution, of course, is to unplug. Determine a set time each evening (and preferably weekends) to turn off your devices and step away from work — it will still be there in the morning.

Time Crunch

Have you ever said, “There are just not enough hours in the day?” You aren’t alone. Many people feel like they simply can’t accomplish everything that needs to be done in a typical day, and often end up working through lunch or into the evening to catch up. However, usually the time crunch is attributable to a few common factors: 1. Procrastination 2. Taking on Too Much and 3. Not Allowing Enough Time.

Many people underestimate how long it will take to complete the tasks on their to-do lists, and as a result, add too many things to their plate. Organizational experts suggest overestimating the time it will take to complete tasks; for example, if you think that a meeting will take an hour, schedule an hour and fifteen minutes to allow time for that impromptu conversation with a co-worker at the end of the meeting. If you end up with “extra” time, you can use it to get ahead, but adding a cushion keeps you from falling behind.

Procrastination is a tougher challenge. Limiting distractions and prioritizing tasks can help, but changing your habit generally requires a change of perspective. Realize that putting off tasks will only cause stress, and the sooner you focus, the sooner you can move on to something else.

Taking Everything Personally

Taking Everything PersonallySome people are constantly stressed because they take everything to heart — and think that everything that happens in the office is about them. It tends to be a cycle as well: You take a comment to heart, worry about it, become stressed, and then feel on edge — which leads you to interpret other comments incorrectly.

While anxiety can require treatment with prescription medications, maintaining perspective can help keep it under control. Experts recommend evaluating what was said, and putting some space between yourself and your reaction. In other words, take a moment to consider your reaction objectively and take emotions out of the equation. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification if necessary. Remember, when someone criticizes your work or questions an idea, it’s not an attack on you as a person, but the work or idea itself. When you create that separation, you’ll find your stress and anxiety will decrease.

There will always be some stress associated with work, especially when you want to succeed in your career. However, but setting the right boundaries and organizing your time, you can avoid the unnecessary, chronic stress that will make you ill — and burn you out.

Men and Women Get Depressed at Equal Rates — But They Do It Differently

Men and Women Get Depressed at Equal Rates — But They Do It DifferentlyFor some time now, conventional wisdom has held that women are twice as likely to develop depressive disorders as men. Now, evidence has emerged that men and women actually get depressed at equal rates — but women are twice as likely to be diagnosed, perhaps because they’re more in touch with their feelings and more comfortable discussing those feelings with friends, relatives, and physicians. According to research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2013, depression symptoms are also markedly different in men than in women.

Women tend to exhibit what you probably think of as the “classic” symptoms of depression — sadness, inability to feel pleasure, excessive crying, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, lethargy, oversleeping, and social withdrawal. Men, on the other hand, tend to exhibit more feelings of anger, irritability, and aggression than do women. They experience more physical symptoms of depression and may even experience depression without the characteristic low mood and feelings of sadness.

Of course, just because men experience different depression symptoms than women doesn’t mean they don’t need and deserve treatment for the disorder. Men often aren’t diagnosed with depression until the disease has reached its advanced stages, because the symptoms of depression in men look so unusual to most people. And because men are more likely to become physically violent and aggressive, or to commit suicide using more lethal means, untreated depression is more dangerous in men than it is in women.

While many men don’t feel comfortable with psychotherapy for depression, drugs like Abilify and Seroquel can help men find relief from depression symptoms. But first, it’s important to recognize the ways in which depression symptoms differ between the sexes, so that if a man in your life develops depression, you can spot it.

Depressed Men Abuse Substances More than Depressed Women

While depressed women tend to respond to their feelings by withdrawing from social contact or using food, unhealthy romantic relationships, or friend relationships to self-medicate, men more often cope with their feelings by abusing alcohol or drugs. Heavy drinking and illegal drug use tends to precede the onset of depression in men, especially very young ones. While women may use substances to cope, they tend to begin doing so only after depression and anxiety symptoms have taken hold in earnest.

Men may also try to cope with depression by working long hours, driving too fast, having unsafe sex with multiple partners, gambling, smoking, watching too much TV, or becoming overly involved in sports. While men can experience feelings of sadness, fatigue, and an inability to feel pleasure because of depression, their feelings may instead manifest as unexplained anger and hostility. They may even lash out and become violent, blaming all of their problems on others, often illogically.

Depressed Men Dwell on Negative Feelings Less than Depressed WomenDepressed Men Dwell on Negative Feelings Less than Depressed Women

Women suffering from depression are more likely than men to dwell on their negative thoughts and feelings, a practice known as rumination. Rumination can include blaming yourself for all the problems in your life, crying for no reason, or participating in negative self-talk. It’s part of the reason why depressed women often suffer from low self-esteem. Men, on the other hand, tend to use escapist behavior to distract themselves from negative feelings and thoughts.

Men Have a Harder Time Asking for Depression Help

Most men learn early in life to practice stoic self-control and not to talk about their feelings. As a result, depressed men may downplay the severity of depression symptoms, and may be reluctant to admit that they’re feeling depressed, even to themselves. Even after men recognize depression symptoms, that doesn’t mean they’re going to feel comfortable discussing them with others, whether those others are family members, friends, a romantic partner, or a family physician. Men are more likely to fear the stigma of getting mental health treatment and may worry that a depression diagnosis could cost them the respect of friends and loved ones or damage their careers.

Furthermore, a significant percentage of depressed men don’t realize they’re suffering from depression at all. These men may experience fewer emotional symptoms and more physical symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, chronic pain, or gastrointestinal problems. Instead of feeling sad, men may feel lonely and isolated. Most people wouldn’t make the connection between physical symptoms and mental illness, so it can be difficult for men whose depression symptoms are primarily physical to recognize the source of their complaints.

Men Need Depression Treatment, Too

While women are more likely to ask for depression help, men may arguably need that help more. That’s because men are more likely to engage in dangerous behavior, like substance abuse or unsafe sex, in order to cope with depression symptoms. They’re also more likely to successfully commit suicide, because they use more lethal methods, act more decisively on their suicidal thoughts, and are less likely to discuss their suicidal feelings or show other warning signs.

It’s not true that women get depressed more often than men — new evidence shows that men and women get depressed at equal rates, but men exhibit different symptoms than their female counterparts. Even though male depression symptoms may be different, they are no less serious. If you or a man you know is suffering from male depression symptoms, get help today.

Is It Time to See a Doctor For Your Flu Symptoms?

Is It Time to See a Doctor For Your Flu Symptoms?For most healthy adults, the flu is a minor illness. Sure, you should take some time off work to stay home and recuperate and to avoid spreading the illness to others. But if you’re at low risk for serious flu complications, you probably won’t need to see a doctor.

However, it’s worth remembering that the flu can be a life-threatening illness. The CDC reports that 200,000 people must be hospitalized for the flu each year, and some of those people die. While the number of total flu deaths varies from one year to the next, the CDC estimates that between 1976 and 2007, yearly flu deaths in the United States ranged from about 3,000 to 49,000 people.

Naturally, no one wants to be one of those people. But how can you tell if your flu symptoms are taking a turn for the serious? Knowing when to seek medical attention for flu symptoms could mean the difference between life and death for thousands of Americans who become sick with the flu this year. Learn how to identify emergency flu symptoms in yourself or someone else in your household, and what you should do if they appear.

Known Your Emergency Flu Symptoms

Most people already know the ordinary, everyday symptoms of influenza. They can include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Sometimes, the flu can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. However, true influenza always causes respiratory symptoms. Gastroenteritis, or what some people call the stomach flu, can occur due to viral infection, bacterial infection, ingestion of spoiled food or contaminated water, or other issues like food intolerance. You should also be aware that while a fever is a common symptom of influenza, not everyone who develops the disease will have a fever. But even if you don’t have a fever, that doesn’t mean you’re not contagious.

Emergency flu symptoms are more severe than normal flu symptoms. These are the symptoms that require medical attention. In children and babies, they include:

  • Breathing problems, including rapid breathing
  • Crying without tears
  • Urinating less often than normal or not at all
  • Blue-tinted skin
  • Failing to interact with others or wake up from sleep
  • Irritability that causes children to refuse being held
  • Severe vomiting
  • Pressure or pain in the abdomen or chest
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fever, accompanied by a rash
  • Flu symptoms that appear to improve, only to return with a worsened cough and a fever

Children aren’t the only ones who can develop emergency flu symptoms. Adults can also develop worrisome flu symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath or other breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Pressure or pain in the abdomen or chest
  • Dehydration
  • Severe, or frequent, vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Flu symptoms that improve, only to return with a worsened cough and renewed fever

If you or someone in your household develops these severe flu symptoms, seek emergency medical care right away.

Who Is at Risk for Severe Flu?

Who Is at Risk for Severe Flu?People who are considered to have a high risk of getting seriously ill or even dying from the flu should see a doctor as soon as flu symptoms appear. For these people, treatment with antiviral drugs can help stave off serious flu complications. Antiviral drug treatment should begin as soon as possible after flu symptoms appear. Save money on antiviral prescription drugs at, where you can search for prescription drugs by condition.

People who are at a high risk of serious flu symptoms include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who have given birth within the last two weeks
  • Babies under two years old
  • People over age 65
  • Alaska Natives
  • American Indians

People with any of the following conditions also run the risk of serious flu complications:

  • Asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis or other chronic lung diseases
  • Sickle cell anemia or other blood disorders
  • Heart disease other than hypertension
  • Endocrine or metabolic disorders like diabetes
  • Morbid obesity

People who have compromised immunity due to HIV/AIDS, cancer treatment, or any other reason are also at a higher risk of developing life-threatening flu symptoms because their immune systems are not capable of fighting off the flu virus. If you’re at high risk of serious flu symptoms, your medical provider will probably test you for the flu and may prescribe antiviral medication. Remember that the flu, unlike the common cold, comes on suddenly.

For most people, the flu is a minor inconvenience, but for some, it’s a life-threatening medical event. If you’re at high risk for serious flu, or know someone who is, you should know what to do in case flu symptoms appear. Even if you and your family members aren’t in the high risk category, you could still develop serious flu symptoms. Don’t let the flu catch you with your guard down. Know how to identify symptoms that require emergency care.

Insomnia and GERD Link Is Bi-Directional

Insomnia and GERD Link Is Bi-Directional

Multiple studies show that insomnia and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to each other. Insomnia is difficulty falling or staying asleep. It also may cause fatigue, low energy, trouble concentrating, mood disturbances and/or decreased work performance. According to a National Sleep Foundation Poll, over 50 percent of respondents reported at least one insomnia symptom at least a few nights per week within the previous year. Thirty-three percent had at least one symptom almost every night during that time.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, the third most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S., is the same as acid reflux disease. You may call the burning sensation in your chest heartburn, but this painful chronic condition doesn’t involve your heart. One in five Americans has suffered from GERD at some time.

Sleep Problems Lead to Heartburn

A study discovered that insomnia sufferers were 56 percent more likely to develop GERD, compared to healthy sleepers. Their symptoms included nighttime awakenings due to reflux as well as short periods of arousal overnight. The researchers found that sleep problem symptoms disappeared in nearly half of a small number of treated insomniacs with reflux. A Pennsylvania State University study of over 1500 people noted that a significant number with sleeping difficulties also voiced GERD complaints.

Findings from a cross-sectional study associated insomnia with an increased likelihood of developing reflux. Participants included 564 people with an average age of 51. The results indicated that the 374 patients with previous insomnia diagnoses had a 3.5 times higher GERD risk. Researchers compared them with the 170 subjects without insomnia, after accounting for age, gender, body mass index, alcohol consumption frequency and depressed mood. The depressed mood factor increased subjects’ reflux chances by 2.8 times.

Among participants whom doctors had referred to sleep clinics, 51 or 9 percent had GERD. These patients scored significantly higher than those without the gastric disorder on three tests. They included the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (average 11.28 versus 9.31), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (11.32 versus 8.31) and the Beck Depression Inventory (16.27 versus 8.35). These subjects also experienced more nighttime awakenings and consumed alcohol more often.

The researchers noted that the relationship between reflux and insomnia likely is bi-directional. While acid reflux events can cause frequent nighttime sleep fragmentation and arousals, sleep disturbances may alter normal esophageal clearance and increase acid exposure.

Acid Reflux Triggers Insomnia

Previous research showed that acid reflux during the day hampers sleep quality at night, causing insomnia and subsequent daytime tiredness. According to a sleeping poll, America adults who experience nighttime heartburn are more likely to report insomnia and daytime sleepiness than those without nighttime heartburn.

A systematic review of five population-based studies associated sleep-related GERD with insomnia symptoms. One study reported that reflux sufferers complained of heartburn at least four days a week and woke up at least one night per week with heartburn. Typically, they had higher acid reflux levels during the day.

Coping with Insomnia

Life circumstances tend to cause brief acute insomnia. You may be anxious about tomorrow’s presentation or upset after receiving bad news. Usually, this passing sleep disruption resolves without treatment. Chronic insomnia, however, is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. Environmental changes, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work and other concurrent clinical disorders can lead to a long-term pattern of insufficient sleep.

Common insomnia symptoms include difficulties dozing off, staying asleep, getting back to sleep, waking up too early and/or not having refreshing rest. Talk to your doctor about your particular situation, insomnia history and causes. A single treatment or combination of behavioral, psychological and medical options can help you resume healthy sleep patterns.

Living with GERD

When your lower esophageal sphincter fails to close after food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, gastric acid travels backward up your food pipe. Heartburn strikes as a burning pain in your chest below or behind your breastbone. Other symptoms include inflammation of your gums, tooth enamel erosion, bad breath, belching and chronic sore throat.

Living with Gastroesophageal Refflux

Lifestyle changes can help minimize your GERD symptoms. Avoid trigger beverages, substances and foods like alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, fatty and fried foods, citrus fruits, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, spicy dishes, chocolate and peppermint. Eat smaller meals while maintaining an upright, relaxed posture. Lose weight, especially excess belly fat. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Swallow medications with plenty of water while in an upright position. Avoid lying down after eating a large meal. Don’t eat for three hours before bedtime. Sleep on a wedge pillow to elevate your head.

Most GERD patients experience increased symptom severity at night while attempting to drift off or during sleep. If your stomach acid backs up as far as your throat and larynx while you’re reclining, you wake up coughing and choking. Sometimes reflux can cause serious complications including inflammation of the esophagus with bleeding or ulcers. Studies have shown that GERD can aggravate or cause asthma, chronic cough and pulmonary fibrosis. In fewer patients, reflux may result in Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to cancer over time.

Recurrent and chronic GERD won’t resolve itself. Discuss medications, behavioral modifications, surgery or combination treatment with your doctor. Nexium relieves reflux symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. For maximum effect, take it a half hour before eating. Save money by ordering all of your prescriptions from Canada Drug Pharmacy.

5 Myths About Acid Reflux and GERD

5 Myths About Acid Reflux and GERD

Acid reflux disease occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle that forms a valve between your esophagus and your stomach, malfunctions, allowing acid to flow back up into your esophagus. This can result in heartburn, and can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD is a serious form of acid reflux disease that can cause You may be surprised to learn that acid reflux can can cause more severe symptoms like regurgitation of food, trouble swallowing, wheezing, coughing, bloody vomiting, black or bloody stools, bloating, weight loss, persistent hiccups, nausea and sore throat..

Occasional acid reflux resulting in heartburn is normal, and can usually be treated with antacids. If you have acid reflux twice a week or more, or if over-the-counter antacids don’t help your heartburn and other symptoms, prescription medications like Nexium may help. Your doctor will want to examine you for other possible causes of your symptoms, like ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, infections or other abnormalities before prescribing medication for the treatment of acid reflux.

If you think you’re suffering from acid reflux or GERD, however, it’s important that you have accurate information about how the condition is managed. There’s a lot of misinformation about acid reflux, heartburn and GERD floating around out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most common untrue things people believe about acid reflux.

Heartburn Isn’t a Serious Symptom

As you may have already gathered, heartburn isn’t always harmless. It’s true that occasional heartburn probably isn’t something to worry about, but regular, frequent and severe heartburn can cause permanent damage to your esophagus. Heartburn could be a symptom of another medical illness, like gastritis, an ulcer or a hiatal hernia — a hernia that happens when your LES and part of the top of your stomach slip through the diaphragm.

Even if it isn’t a symptom of another condition, acid reflux can be damaging all by itself. Fifteen percent of people who suffer acid reflux sustain permanent esophageal damage. Some of those people will develop Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition.

Acid Reflux Occurs Due to a Poor Diet

While it’s true that some foods may aggravate your acid reflux symptoms, diet isn’t really the culprit here. Instead, it’s a malfunctioning LES that’s to blame. When the LES doesn’t fully close, or releases at the wrong time, stomach acid and bile are allowed to flow back into the esophagus, causing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Lauren Gerson, conducted a comprehensive review of over 2,000 relevant studies published between 1974 and 2004. She and her colleagues found that sufferers did not experience any overall improvement in their symptoms by removing such foods as chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods —the foods said to be responsible for causing heartburn — from their diets.

Instead, in a subsequent review of 100 more studies regarding the effect of lifestyle changes on acid reflux and GERD symptoms, Dr. Gerson and her colleagues found that losing weight and sleeping with their upper bodies slightly elevated were far more effective ways for acid reflux sufferers to gain relief. Losing just 10 pounds can help ease heartburn symptoms. Place blocks under the top of your mattress to elevate the head of your bed four to six inches.

Acid Reflux from Poor Diet

You Have to Take Acid Reflux Medication Every Day for Life

Many people who are diagnosed with acid reflux medication continue to take it daily for years, out of the fear that their symptoms will return if they don’t.

However, only people with the most severe acid reflux symptoms really need to do this. The rest of you are free to take your medication when symptoms flare up or when you’re about to eat something that may trigger symptoms. Get a good price on your acid reflux medications at Canada Drug Pharmacy.

Milk Will Soothe Acid Reflux

This age-old advice for a troubled stomach simply isn’t true — the milk may neutralize your stomach acid temporarily, but your stomach will soon produce more. Mint can also do more harm than good. Try licorice instead.

You Can Just Take Extra Antacids to Treat Your Acid Reflux

Many acid reflux sufferers, reluctant to see a doctor about their heartburn, just pop tons of antacids in an effort to cope with the problem. But if you’re going through more than a couple of antacids at a time or taking them more often than twice a week, you have a problem that requires medical attention. Not only that, but taking too many antacids can cause complications of its own, like diarrhea or constipation.

You may be surprised to learn that acid reflux can be a serious medical condition. Make sure you have the facts about acid reflux and GERD. Only when you have the correct information will you be in the right position to successfully combat this common condition.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Gluten-Free Diet May Be the Way to Go

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Gluten-Free Diet May Be the Way to Go

We’re hearing a lot about gluten — or more specifically, the need to avoid gluten — these days. It seems that almost everyone is either on a gluten-free diet, or knows someone on a gluten-free diet. The grocery store is suddenly stocked with items claiming to be gluten-free, and even restaurants are getting in on the act, adding special items to their menus and adjusting recipes to meet the needs of those who cannot or don’t want to eat gluten.

With all of the attention that gluten is getting, you may be wondering if gluten really is harmful, or whether it’s just a craze that will soon go the way of other food fads. While undoubtedly there are some who have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle unnecessarily — by some estimates, that’s almost 90 percent of the people who have cut out gluten — there are some people who really do need to avoid gluten. The first group is those with celiac disease, a legitimate gluten intolerance. The other group that should avoid gluten? Those with rheumatoid arthritis.

The Celiac-RA Connection

The Celiac-RA Connection

Celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis are often challenging to diagnose are often challenging to diagnose, as they share many of the same symptoms. Both are autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body as if it were diseased, causing similar symptoms that include joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Celiac often includes other gastrointestinal symptoms that aren’t present in RA, including cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and constipation, but many people who complain of joint pain are often diagnosed with RA, despite those other symptoms.

In addition, one condition can often lead to the other. Celiac often leads to arthritis, but more often, patients with RA develop celiac disease. This is in large part because even though RA can be managed with biologic drugs (check out for some of the latest RA treatment options) many patients do not follow a gluten-free diet as well. As a result, while their joint pain may be under control, their immune system still attacks the gluten inside the intestines, causing serious discomfort and, eventually, malnutrition.

What Is Gluten?

Before getting into the importance of going gluten-free if you have RA, it’s important to explain exactly what gluten is. Gluten is an amino acid, or protein, found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives bread it’s chewy texture, by adding elasticity to the dough. In addition to being found in breads and other baked goods, gluten is added to many packaged and processed foods, and can also be found in unexpected places, like salad dressing.

When one has a sensitivity to gluten, it causes the immune system to attack the lining of the intestine; more specifically, the antibodies attack the villi, which are microscopic protrusions on the lining of the small intestine that absorb nutrients from food. If the villi are destroyed, then the body cannot absorb nutrients, causing both tummy trouble and malnutrition, including anemia.

However, going gluten-free isn’t always great for your health either, as many gluten-free foods are low in fiber and other nutrients, and tend to be higher in fat and calories thanks to the ingredient substitutions. As a result, it’s important to only cut out the gluten if you really need to.

How a Gluten-free Diet Helps RA

You might be wondering what celiac disease and a gluten-free diet have to do with rheumatoid arthritis. After all, when you have RA, you tend to only have the joint pain without the problems with your digestive system.

Doctors note, though, that when you have one autoimmune disease, like RA, your chances of developing another disease increase considerably. Not to mention, several studies have indicated that RA patients that have drastically reduced or eliminated gluten from their diets have shown improvement in their symptoms.

When you are diagnosed with RA, talk with your doctor about your diet to determine whether going gluten-free can help. You may need additional testing to identify a gluten sensitivity or intolerance and if that could be causing your pain. If you do opt to go gluten-free, keep a few important points in mind:

  • Do not stop taking your medication without your doctor’s guidance. Even if you feel better, stopping or changing your medication on your own can cause you to get sicker or lead to side effects.
  • Research gluten-free eating, and try to eat as many naturally gluten-free foods as possible. Most fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, do not contain gluten.
  • Learn to read labels. Manufacturers are not required to list gluten, and while it might be obvious that some ingredients contain gluten (anything containing wheat, rye, barley or flour, for example) other common ingredients, like malt, may not be as immediately apparent as gluten.
  • Understand that some packaged foods and restaurant items labeled as gluten-free may have been prepared in the same area as foods containing gluten, and therefore may contain trace amounts.

Paying attention to your diet can make a significant difference in how you manage a chronic condition. If you have RA, cutting out gluten could make the difference between constant discomfort and a relatively normal life, so be sure to talk with your doctor about your options.