There are several complications that can occur with long-term heartburn / acid reflux. These complications include Barrett's esophagus, esophageal cancer, esophagitis, and esophageal strictures. There are, however, six steps you can take that can drastically reduce your chances of developing one of these complications.
1. Make the necessary lifestyle changes
Heartburn symptoms can often be relieved if sufferers make a few lifestyle changes. Many people can significantly reduce the occurrence of symptoms by avoiding heartburn triggers and behaviors that contribute to acid reflux flare-ups. With less acid reflux episodes, there is less chance of esophageal damage. Follow these ten suggestions to significantly reduce the occurrence of acid reflux symptoms.
2. Watch what you eat
If you suffer from acid reflux, you need to know what foods are safe to eat and what foods to avoid. Most heartburn sufferers indicate their heartburn is worse after eating. If you can reduce the occurrences of food-related heartburn, this can go a long way in reducing the risk of complications. For example, drinking carbonated drinks may increase your risk of esophageal cancer. There are the foods with little risk of causing heartburn, foods that can be consumed in moderation, and foods that should be avoided completely. Also, knowing how to prepare foods will reduce heartburn. Check out this recipe index for heartburn-free recipes. Another resource to help you with your dietary needs as a heartburn sufferer is the Dining Out Guide For Heartburn Sufferers.
3. Keep track of your heartburn triggers
When you experience chronic heartburn, the first step to controlling your heartburn is to record what may trigger your attacks, the severity of the attacks, how your body reacts, and what gives you relief. The next step is to take this information to your doctor so the both of you can determine what lifestyle changes you will need to make and what treatments will give you maximum relief, and prevent complications. You can use this heartburn record as an example of what to track.
4. Learn how to prevent heartburn before it happens
Here are a few tips to significantly reduce the occurrence of acid reflux symptoms, and in most cases prevent the acid reflux before it starts. With less acid reflux episodes, there is less chance of esophageal damage.
5. Reduce nighttime heartburn
Nighttime heartburn can be the most dangerous. If frequent nighttime heartburn occurs, the risk of complications increases. There are several reasons reasons for this. For example, refluxed acid tends to remain in the esophagus for longer periods, allowing it to cause more damage to the esophagus. There are, however, a few ways to prevent nighttime heartburn.
6. Take prescribed medications
You should always contact your doctor if your heartburn occurs two or more times a week. While under the care of your physical, he or she may prescribe prescription medications or suggest over-the-counter remedies. There are alternative "home" remedies for easing heartburn. Discuss these with your doctor also.