Heartburn is a common grievance, especially after over-eating or indulging in high acidity foods. While it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious problem such as cancer, heartburn is often a lifestyle disease that can be eliminated or reduced with some diet and lifestyle changes. Heartburn is caused by excess hydrochloric acid traveling up from the stomach and irritating the oesophagus – the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. This causes a burning sensation in the chest and possibly the neck and throat, too.
On the other hand acid indigestion is caused by excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach, but doesn’t affect the oesophagus. Fatty, rich and spicy foods, bread, carbonated drinks, nuts, chocolate and wine can all cause heartburn. The first line of treatment for heartburn is to reduce the irritants, be they food or alcohol. Antacids are also used to raise the pH in the stomach to reduce acidity, but don’t take them too often, as they could create other problems for you. Reduced stomach acid can affect your ability to digest and absorb nutrients, such as iron and this may affect your overall health status.