Heartburn Is Not To Be Ignored!


NOTE: The information provided below is a result of research I have done on this particular topic, along with my own personal thoughts.

Heartburn and/or indigestion is a common condition experienced by multitudes of individuals all over the world. These symptoms can usually be relieved by ingesting Tums or Pepto Bismol.

However, if you experience heartburn symptoms on a consistent basis (two or more times a week), it's a good idea to see your physician to be evaluated for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you are diagnosed with this condition, there are numerous medications your physician can prescribe to take before meals which brings much needed relief.

For those diagnosed with GERD, over time, the constant backwash of stomach acid can irritate and damage your esophagus. If this happens, it can lead to these complications:

-Ulcers - bleeding sores in your esophagus

-Strictures - scar damage that narrows your esophagus and makes it hard to swallow

-Barrett's Esophagus - changes in the cells of your esophagus that can lead to cancer

What I want to address on this Hub is the diagnosis of Barrett's Esophagus.

One out of ten individuals with long term reflux undergo a cellular surrender and conversion resulting in this disease.

An important note to those who experience frequent heartburn and do not bother to see a doctor:

Pain is your body talking to you, telling you something is wrong. If you ignore these symptoms, it's possible your esophagus is undergoing damage. First, you develop GERD. If ignored, GERD can eventually, over time, develop into Barrett's Esophagus. Then, over time, the cells in your esophagus can turn into dysplasia, which means pre-cancer. If not treated, the dysplasia develops into cancer of the esophagus.

This is why it is important to keep in constant touch with your physician.

On a positive note, I read in a brochure that many people who develop Barrett's Esophagus never get cancer. (Statistics are about one person in 200).

However, the diagnosis of Barrett's means that the cells in the lining of the esophagus have changed. A person who has developed Barrett's has a greater RISK of developing cancer.

HOW BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS IS DIAGNOSED:

Your physician can refer you to a gastroenterologist who will perform a procedure called an Upper GI Endoscopy. A scope is inserted into your esophagus and stomach, with a light and a camera. If the specialist sees anything unusual, he/she can take a specimen to be biopsed.

NOTE: This diagnostic procedure is painless. The patient is given IV Sedation, which includes Versid - a wonderful drug where you do not remember ANY of it. You lay there talking to the physician and the next minute you blink and you are all done!

This is a tremendous life saving procedure.

Although there is no cure for Barrett's Esophagus, it can be monitored. Here are a couple suggestions to minimize the chance of Barrett's worsening...and if you don't have Barretts, perhaps the following can control GERD:

DIET

Stay away from foods that give you reflux such as caffeine, chocolate and tomato products.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and stick to a low-fat, low calorie diet. Maintain a healthy body weight. Avoiding alcoholic beverages and smoking can also help.

MEDICATION

Your doctor can recommend a medication best suited for your symptoms.

AFTER-EATING HABITS

Sit upright a few hours after eating, and allow at least three to four hours for your food to digest before going to bed.

Alot more information about this disease can be obtained by simply googling "Barrett's Esophagus" on the internet. You will find a wealth of helpful information there.

THE BAD NEWS

After years of GERD, taking numerous medications, multiple x-rays and GI tests, I told my physician this past April I was still having sporadic violent heartburn and that nothing was helping.

Although I had an Endoscopy in 2006 which was normal, he suggested I should schedule another one to rule out Barrett's Esophagus.

An Endoscopy was performed the end of May.

On June 13th, I received the call:

My new diagnosis is Barrett's Esophagus. I have an office visit scheduled with my gastroenterologist in August to discuss this condition. I am currently composing a long list of questions to ask him.

This development has given me pause. And some fear.

My main concern is my family history: My grandfather died of oral cancer, my mother from cancer of the larynx, my daughter has had three surgeries for cancer of the tongue, and my great aunt had 3/4 of her stomach removed.

The good news is that even though I have Barrett's Esophagus, everything is benign at this time. However, I have been informed that the cells COULD change and develop into cancer.

All this being said, I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your body's signals. Although heartburn is a condition that is so easy to ignore and dismiss, I suggest that anyone who has had periodic indigestion for several years should consider visiting his/her physician for a checkup and to inquire if an Upper GI Endoscopy is necessary.

Finally, as I stated above, only one in ten will develop Barrett's Esophagus (followed by one in 200 that could develop cancer from Barrett's Esophagus).

I thought I was safe! However, as it turns out, I am one of the "one in ten" who has developed Barrett's Esophagus.

Above all, please remember: It is possible that those who do not pay attention to this very important symptom of heartburn could already have Barrett's Esophagus. If ignored, dysplasia (pre-cancer) could develop. If that is ignored, cancer of the esophagus follows which, if not treated, could be fatal.

Finally, I sincerely mean this from the heart: NEVER take your health for granted. Because if you've got your health, you've got EVERYTHING.

Blessings, Sparklea


More by this Author


Comments 42 comments

Larry Wall 4 years ago

Sparklea:

First, my prayers are with you that you will not have an additional difficulty. I am certain there is going to be a whole chorus of Hubbers, maybe even some of those that give trouble on the Hubs about religion will join in to pray for you. I was recently suspected of possibly having Barrett's Esophagus. The test came back negative. I do have Schatzki ring, which is a ring of tissue that forms at the end of the esophagus near the stomach that can restrict swallowing. It has been stretched twice. I have to watch the amounts I eat and it is best to avoid certain food.

My condition is not serious, but it gives you cause to think.

Tell you this is like preaching to the choir, but God is always going to be with you, watching over you and protecting you. I do not keep a prayer list like you, but I am writing your name on a piece of paper near my computer, where I spend a lot of time and I will be constantly praying for you.

You showed what kind of person you are with this hub. It did not start with "I have a problem." Instead you chose to inform people about the condition and then my saying it has happened to me, you are also emphasizing that it can happen to the proverbial you.

It has been a rough weekend, nothing serious, just one of those weekends. When I saw I had a Sparklea Hub waiting to be read, I knew the day was going to get better. I was confused, because it did not seem like your type of Hub, but it was exactly your type. You care about others and you wanted to warn them without alarming them.

Please know, if you ever need anyone to talk to, e-mail or verbally, send me an e-mail and I will send you my number.

Know you will constantly be in my prayers.

Finally, please know I consider you one of my best friends, even though we have never met. Your encouragement and praise (sometimes I think undeserving) means a lot to me.

Also, I have learned from history in my family and my wife's family that heredity is not always a deciding factor. So, never give up hope. List to the doctors. I know you will be praying and as I said as this Hub circulates, I think you will have a whole chorus of Hubbers praying for you. Take care my friend and keep me posted.

Larry


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Lea, firstly, great job on this hub. Well-researched and presented perfectly. Secondly, I do not have this problem and for that I am grateful; however, having said that, your last message is right on! Never take our health for granted. We need to be proactive in order to be aware and out in front of any problems.

Blessings and peace,

bill


Faith Reaper 4 years ago

Amen on this one!!! Thanks for writing on this serious subject. My husband has acid reflux and it can be deadly, especially if it occurs while sleeping, as one can choke to death. I sleep elevated, as I sometimes get it and it has seemed to help me, plus not eating spicy foods later in the evening. I will pray that your cells will not change and develop into cancer ever. You are wise in saying not to take our health for granted. Excellent hub as always. God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper


dreamer18 profile image

dreamer18 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

My Mom has GERD and I know how hard for her to keep up with medicines, doctor visits,diet and change in sleeping habits. My prayers are with you. Useful hub and voted up!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Larry: THANK YOU for your wonderful encouraging comments. I am so touched by your kind words, especially to know that I am in your prayers, as you and your family are in mine.

I will pray also for your diagnosis of Schatzki Ring. I never heard of it, but I will definitely do a google search.

I asked God the other day, "Besides trusting You each day, what else can be done?" For days I've had the internal thought to write a hub about this. Such a simple symptom as heartburn can be so easily ignored!

My purpose in writing this is a sincere desire to make readers AWARE.

Yes, it is such an inconvenience to make an appointment with a doctor, with all we have going on in our lives. However, when my doctor said he thought I should be evaluated for Barrett's Esophagus, I called my gastroenterologist the minute I got home, and I scheduled an office visit.

Why? Because this is my life! I cannot stress strongly enough that every day, it is good to get out of bed and thank God for another day of LIFE.

I have a busy day and week ahead, but I promise I will send you an email this week. I am sorry you had a rough weekend, but God reminds me that every day is new.

Finally, I still think we will meet some day, BEFORE eternity!

Blessings, and I will be in touch. THANK YOU again for taking time to write this beautiful comment. Blessings Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Billybuc: I am thrilled every time your name pops up in the comment section of one of my hubs. What an honor that you take the time to add feedback, and it is so much appreciated!

Thank you for your positive input!

I have been reading a chapter a day in your book, and I am so intrigued with the mystery! You are such a great writer, and I love the characters you have created!

When the book is done I will definitely send you a review with my personal thoughts. It is terrific to be reading a book written by you!

Blessings, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Faith Reaper, God bless you and your husband real good! And THANK YOU for taking time to read this hub.

I can't stress enough to readers that an Upper GI Endoscopy is such a PAINLESS SIMPLE procedure, and it can save your life!

That is what this hub is all about: this is our LIFE!

My sister's ex-husband had a mole on his back, and he would NOT go to a doctor. He totally ignored all the symptoms for a very long time, and he died an early death. Had he gone to the doctor he would be alive today.

We should all thank God for our bodies and how God has created our temples to renew our cells, fight off infection (that's why we get fevers), and talk to us with symptoms.

I assume your husband has seen a doctor for his symptoms. You are both prayer warriors.

That being said, thanks again for your feedback. I love hearing from you!

Blessings, Sparklea PS: I pray for you each and every day and I am so glad you are doing so well :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Dreamer18: Thank you so much for your feedback and kind words. In researching GERD, I know millions of people suffer from this disease.

The key is that as the years pass, our bodies can change and react to the constant irritation that sporadically occurs when we have GERD reflux episodes.

It is important to stay vigilant and to schedule regular visits to our family doctor.

It is hard to take the time to go to appointments, they can be such an inconvenience. But some inconveniences can save our lives.

Thanks again for taking time to read this hub and for your comments.

Blessings, Sparklea :)


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

First let me start by sending my prayers to you for a positive and speedy recovery.

Thank you for posting this informative read as I had never even heard of Barretts Esophagus until today.

Blessings to you friend.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

Thank you for writing this sparklea and letting us be aware of that any illnesses should not be ignored.

I have all my prayers to you Sparklea.


glmclendon profile image

glmclendon 4 years ago

Sparklea, I can not put into words my thoughts at this time. I pray that you will follow what the doctor tells you. I also know our God iis a Doctor in the sick room. I know in my heart, if Christ could raise the dead He can surly take care of you.

We pray God will not only bless you, but He will put a blessing in the hands of the Doctor, and a blessing in his/her head so they will think right as they look at all of the reports. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Stay Well (God Bless)


i4u 4 years ago

Heartburns are really problems that needs attention on the first hand then good care. I sincerely wish anyone suffering from it finds immediate relief.

The indigestion problems have enhanced this disorder. I have certain hubs for more information. Hope none remains unaware to the conditions that can lead to severe problems.

The causes, symptoms and remedies are to be known and acted upon as soon as possible.

Health is everything. Your information is so good than won't keep anyone suffering from it take it lightly and not deal with it immediately.

I wish you healthy life ahead and everyone else as well.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

shiningirisheyes: THANK YOU for your feedback and for taking time to read this hub. Yes, the reason I wrote this hub is to inform.

Barrett's Esophagus cannot be healed, it is a condition which can stay dormant for years, OR the cells can change. In my opinion it's a waiting game for those who are diagnosed with it.

I think, like you, that many who suffer from heartburn/GERD are not aware that, over time, the damage that can be done.

That is why I have stressed vigilance and checkups to those who have frequent bouts of indigestion. I believe it's better to have yourself checked and know you are okay rather than ignore it.

Blessings to you, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Unknown Spy: THANK YOU For reading this hub and for your very kind words. So appreciate hearing from you. You continue to be a treasure and an inspiration in my life. Blessings, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

glmclendon: I am thankful to have met you on HubPages, you are a wonderful person, so sincere and genuine. I recently was told about a Christian who said on a video to live in daily increments. God gave His people manna for one day only. If they tried to carry the manna onto the next day, it spoiled. A great analogy of not dragging yesterday's trials into today. TODAY I am a walking talking "Sparklea" and living my life and the Bible says not to worry about tomorrow. It is today only that I have to live. God is in control.

Thank you from my heart for your kind words and prayers. Blessings, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

i4u: THANK YOU for reading my hub and for your terrific information and encouragement. Also thank you for following me. I sent you fan mail and I have already read one of your hubs on indigestion.

Yes, I HOPE and PRAY people who suffer from heartburn do not take it lightly. Just a visit to the doctor can save a life.

Blessings, Sparklea, and thank you again! :)


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 4 years ago from Savannah GA.

Well researched with great information! As I aged, I went from NEVER getting heart burn to now getting it when I eat spicy foods. It is still not very often, but it is good to have some good information on this subject!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow you wrote about this and I have it..I am on Nexium.. I have been on it for 5 - 6 years.. I was told if I go off of Nexium I could get cancer thats how bad my esophagus is.. I have been in the hospital with this several times.. thank you for writing this my friend.. and thank you for being so loyal in reading my crazy poems.

blessings to you

Debbie


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Highvoltagewriter: Thank you for taking time to read this hub. So much appreciate your feedback. I wrote it to get the word out there to listen to your body. Blessings, and thanks again! Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Deborah, Wow, are you saying you have GERD or BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS? Which one?

SO glad you commented, as I read on a message board that a guy stopped his meds and got better (but he only had GERD). I was considering stopping, but your response that you could develop cancer if you stopped Nexium has nailed me to keep taking my medication.

(Prilosec)

I so appreciate what you said, it is like Divine Order! Please do let me know which one you have. And if you have changed your diet?

I have many hubbers on my prayer list and you are one of them.

God bless you real good. Sparklea :)


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

My ESOPHAGUS TUBE is on fire.. I was told it is like someone scraped all the meat off the tube.. If I do not take the Nexium I could get cancer..I get sick easy if I do not take it.. I cannot eat anything fried if I do I feel like I am having a heart attack.. I really have to watch what I eat. it is that bad.. ask your doctor to be sure,..thank you for writing this my friend

Debbie


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Debbie, I praise God for medication to control this. Wow, I know what you mean, if I miss a pill my stomach tells me!

I have not seen the gastroenterologist since I was diagnosed with Barrett's. His office called and scheduled an appointment for me to discuss it with him on August 16. He is an outstanding physician, and I've made a list of questions to ask him.

I am familiar with Nexium, it has a good reputation.

Thank you for your input, and of course you remain on my prayer list.

So appreciate your taking the time, as you have many people who are following you (and love you). God bless, Sparklea :)


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Spaklea, you know that I have been praying for you and will keep doing so. I am so glad you are home now! You are a wonderful child of God and a sister in Christ. Thank you so much for letting us know how you are doing.

By the way, I promised Larry that if we ever met, I would buy you and Larry coffee:)


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Sparklea, This hub is invaluable to those who suffer from gerds. I did not know the progression. I have a sister-in-law who still has symptoms though she is on medications. I'm sending her your hub to alert her to the importance of keeping in touch with her physician.

I'll be praying for you dearone,

God Bless you and keep you close to His heart.

Mekenzie


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

No truer words were spoken, "Don't take your Health for Granted"...Your Hub was a Wonderful Insight, very Educational, and most Interesting, Sparklea. So much I personally did not know about "gerds" Thanks so much for the Enlightenment. This one to be Bookmarked. Thanks for sharing. Add my Prayers to that List!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Michele: THANK you for your genuine, sincere comments. Also thank you for praying for me, really need prayer at this time. This has been a stressful week!

Please keep praying. You are also on my prayer list...as are alot of hubbers. I've met so many wonderful people in the last year.

I truly think you, Larry and I will meet, and I'll take you up on that coffee!

I am so hoping to get back on HubPages soon...with all that is going on I am behind in everything.

I have been working on a hub, just need a block of time to write it.

God bless, thank you for reading this hub and for your encouragement. Sparklea :)

God


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Mekenzie: THANK YOU for reading this hub and for your comments. Yes, I believe it is important to notify anyone close to you to NOT ignore persistent heartburn.

Thank you for sending this hub to your sister-in-law.

My purpose writing on this topic is to inform. Very grateful for my hub friends and their comments. I value very one.

You are on my prayer list also. God bless, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

b.malin: THANK You for visiting this page and for reading my hub. SO much appreciated.

Yes, I believe alot of people have not been informed about GERD and how, as time passes, it can become very serious.

I hope people who read this do pass it on. It can save alot of aggravation and discomfort...all it takes is an appointment with your doctor.

Is it worth the time? Yes, because it could save your life. Blessings, Sparklea :)


Larry Wall 4 years ago

As Sparklea noted so well, GERD can be serious and you do not know you have it. I found out I had it when I started to have trouble swallowing. I was not chocking and could always breath, but the food would not go down.

A trip to the gastroenterologist and a painless examination confirmed his suspicions. I now take smaller bites and medication twice each day.


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Great research and useful and the fact is 99% people suffer from hart burn and great reason is our life style , food habits and stress habits, great share, voted up.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Larry THANK YOU for reaffirming GERD can be serious...you and I both know it from experience. God bless, Sparklea...received your email and WILL answer it. SO glad you survived Isaac.

Girishpuri: THANK you for your positive vote and for reading this hub. I so appreciate it! Alot of the research I have to say I learned from my own experience and looking up symptoms and prevention on the internet, plus talking to my doctors. God bless, Sparklea :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Very informative and useful Sparklea. Yeah! We take life for granted until we know we are sick like a dog. Young generations do not worry until they reach that age. Hope you are doing better and Faith told us to put you on our prayers list as well. God bless!


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Oh wow, thank you for this information. I normally get heartburn a few times out of the year and tums normally relieve me. I will definitely have to let my parents know about this since they are hitting their 50's and I've been noticing that my dad gets heartburn easily. I have to commend you for sharing your experience and your diagnosis to us; it definitely makes the reader truly connect to the information and really think about the 1 in 10 ratio. Hope everything works out, Sparklea!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Lord De Cross: Thank you for taking time to read this hub, I truly appreciate your feedback. To summarize, I just want to remind readers to always listen to your body. God has given us one Temple and He expects us to cherish and honor our bodies. Symptoms, especially pain of any sort, should not be ignored. Thank God for physicians, radiologists, surgeons, all those in the medical field who have been given gifts to help us heal...God's gifts. He gets all the credit for the individual talents He has placed in each one of us. Blessings, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

KDuBarry03: THANK YOU so much for your comments, so much appreciated! I hope sharing my experience will not only inspire those who read it to take notice of heartburn...and not to take it lightly. It is wise to see a doctor, even if they make you feel foolish...and this has happened to me in the past. But better to feel foolish and know I am okay physically (which also eliminates anxiety about a symptom) than to ignore a symptom and end up having it be serious.

My former brother-in-law totally ignored a mole on his back until it got huge and started bleeding. By that time it was too late, melanoma had spread through his body. He suffered and died...which saddens me. Had he gotten that mole taken care of immediately, I believe he would be alive today. I personally believe that stubborness... is playing roulette with your body and can eventually turn fatal. It's just not worth it! Thanks again, blessings, Sparklea :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Interesting and useful so thank you for sharing and here's to so many more to follow,

Eddy.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Eiddwen: Thank you so much for taking time to read this Hub. Also thank you for following me...it is an honor. I will also follow you. I am thrilled for the wonderful people I am meeting on Hub Pages. thank you for your positive feedback. Blessings, Sparklea :)


Vijay 23 months ago

You're eating too close to the time you go to bed. It does sound like acid refulx. Stop eating a couple of hours before laying down and see if that helps. Also stay away from carbs late at night like cereal, bread, crackers as these lay heavy on the stomach. Stress and anxiety can cause this condition. If it lasts for more than a couple of weeks and you have it daily, you should see a doctor.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i used to have heartburn which i thought was gastric pains. Got it treated


Silvia 23 months ago

I feel like 9 months prngeant already, and am just 28 weeks right now with my second. I, too, get those same reactions when people ask when I'm due and I tell them January. The next question is invariably the beginning of January? and I always feel like saying .look, I know I'm huge, lets just leave it at that! (I'm due the 19th).Don't suffer through heartburn! I have had it for at least two months now, as well. I had the same problem with my first pregnancy the hormones in your body that cause your ligaments to loosen and stretch have the same effects on your bowels (why many women get constipation), as well as your esophageal sphincter (bingo, acid reflux). My OB/GYN prescribed Nexium during my first pregnancy, and I'm taking generic Prevacid this time around. One pill every morning, and I went from literally having stomach acid geysering into my mouth at night to absolutely no problem. I ran out a couple of days ago and the spaghetti I ate for dinner started to give me issues when I got to bed last night .thankfully Tums knocked it out. Started the Prevacid again this AM, thank goodness!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 23 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Peachpurple: mine was treated too, and I am happy to report my last test that the Barrett's Esophagus is gone! Thank you for reading this!


Isha 23 months ago

I don't have the experience of a sceond pregnancy, but from having the experience once, I do know exactly what to say and what not to say to pregnant women. The only thing a pregnant woman needs to hear from me is, You look terrific! How wonderful you get to experience this! Anything else is unnecessary. Period.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working