4 Reasons Why Heartburn Gets Worse as You Grow Older
If you’re experiencing heartburn episodes more frequently than ever, it might be time to visit a doctor. The older we get, the more changes our body undergoes. Sometimes, those changes mean we’re more susceptible to inconveniences like heartburns and acid refluxes. The essential takeaway is to schedule regular checkups with your doctors to ensure what you’re feeling isn’t gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn, ironically, doesn’t have anything to do with your heart. Although it is a function of the stomach and esophagus, the pain and discomfort can be felt in the lower chest, leading to individuals associating it with their heart, hence the name. Acid reflux is another name for it.
Heartburn is a burning feeling produced by stomach acid running back up through the esophagus rather than remaining in the stomach as it should. A burning feeling might travel from the neck to the chest as a result of the acid. Although it might be distressing, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.
While heartburn is utterly natural from time to time, its frequent occurrence might indicate a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease. Continue reading to discover more about heartburn and why specific symptoms get worse as you get older.
1. Muscle Deterioration
Muscles deteriorate as people age. A weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is one example. Food passes down your throat, past your esophagus, and into your stomach when you eat. The LES is a circular muscle that regulates the passage between the esophagus and the stomach. The LES closes while you’re not eating, preventing stomach fluids from going back into the esophagus. The LES might weaken and cease working correctly as you become older.
2. Uncontrolled Weight Gain
It’s not unusual for people to gain weight as they age. The LES may become weakened as a result of this weight. Furthermore, the risk and severity of GERD are greater in persons who are overweight. It’s unclear why this is the case.
Nutrition counseling services might assist you if you are not healthy and wish to make a change. Weight gain is linked to heartburn in people of all ages, but as people get older and less active, their weight rises, as does their risk of heartburn.
3. Increasing Number of Medications
As people become older, their health deteriorates, and they require more medication. Some medicines, such as blood pressure meds, antidepressants, and opiates, can produce heartburn. The most common causes of heartburn are obesity and drug side effects.
4. Development of a Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal hernia is another characteristic related to aging that can cause heartburn. Many people over the age of 60 suffer from a hiatal hernia, in which the top portion of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity, obstructing the esophageal tract.
Heartburn can be avoided by making dietary adjustments. Acid reflux symptoms can be relieved by avoiding fatty, spicy, or acidic meals. There are several modifications you may make if your nighttime heartburn is getting worse. If you suspect your condition to be worsening, consult your doctor right away.
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