Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia - 4

ASK THE EXPERT BY LUIS SOLER RIVERA
Bryan Sauer, MD
UVA Health System
gastroenterologist

DEPARTMENT
HEADLINE
This is the department deck. It should be grouped with
the headline as you see here.

HEARTBURN

IS IT MORE THAN A NUISANCE?

Most of us have experienced an insistent, burning sensation in the chest after a hearty meal. Having intermittent heartburn is common and normal, but it can also be a symptom of a
more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease
(GERD), which affects an estimated 17 million Americans.
Bryan Sauer, MD, a UVA Health System gastroenterologist,
offers advice on when to seek help for your heartburn.

Q

4

FAL L 2018

opening to the stomach, making it
more likely that contents will go up into
the esophagus.

Q

Should I tell my doctor
about my heartburn?
Yes, when it's happening every
day, or is worse at night, or you can't
eat any of the foods you want to.
Those are reasons to talk to your provider. The triggers and symptoms for
GERD are very similar to those for runof-the-mill heartburn but, as a chronic
condition, GERD can, over time, lead to
esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), esophageal strictures (narrowing

Is It an
Emergency?
Learn from experts how to
tell the difference between
a heart attack and heartburn. Go to uvahealth.com/
chestpain.

or tightening of the esophagus) and
other conditions.

Q

How can I keep the burn
from coming back?
Controlling heartburn and
GERD doesn't have to involve drastic
measures, although it can be a challenge. We often start by talking about
lifestyle and diet modifications. The
most important thing is losing some
weight because extra weight is often
on the belly and can push stomach acid
into the esophagus. It's also a good
idea to sleep at a bit of an incline, particularly if symptoms occur when lying
down. When we're lying flat in bed, we
no longer have gravity keeping stomach
acids from flowing upward.
When lifestyle modifications aren't
enough, medications can help. For those
having heartburn once a week or less,
antacids or H2 blockers are really effective on an as-needed basis. For those
who have it more often, a proton-pump
inhibitor taken daily is pretty effective in
about 99 percent of people. ■

LEFT PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK, RIGHT PHOTO UVA HEALTH SYSTEM

Why do I get heartburn?
Often, what we eat can trigger
heartburn. Although triggers are
different for everyone, some foods that
commonly cause it include:
Fried foods
Food with tomatoes or
tomato sauce
Chocolate
Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and certain medical conditions and medications
can also cause it. Our lifestyle habits
may also lead to heartburn; smoking is
a potential cause, and exercise may trigger it as well. Both alcohol and tobacco
can relax the muscles controlling the

WEBSITE


http://www.uvahealth.com/chestpain http://www.uvahealth.com/chestpain

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover3
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