Chest pain is never something to treat lightly and should always be checked out by a doctor. But what happens when your heart is in perfect working condition...yet you still feel that familiar pain and tightness? It could be that you're suffering symptoms of acid reflux.
We're all familiar with acid reflux, which leads to heartburn. And most of us know our triggers, whether they're in the form of spicy foods, acidic foods/beverages, or eating a heavy meal late in the evening. With the variety of heartburn remedies on the market it's clear that many people tend to go ahead and indulge in their favorite reflux-causing habits no matter how much discomfort they experience afterward.
Still, there are times when acid reflux is less an occasional inconvenience and more of a chronic condition. It's in these cases that a person should consult a doctor and perhaps take medication in order to combat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which stems from relaxation of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach becoming relaxed and allowing stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus.
If acid reflux is more of an occasional rather than chronic occurrence, there are steps you can take to help yourself:
- Avoid any foods or beverages which typically lead to heartburn.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing, especially around the abdomen, which can constrict the stomach and force acid into the esophagus.
- Avoid eating less than three hours before going to bed. You may also want to elevate the head of your bed in order to allow gravity to keep stomach acid from flowing back up into your esophagus.
Remember that even though heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux are common, it doesn't mean that you have to live with the discomfort or pain. If you find yourself taking antacids more than twice a week, consider making the sort of lifestyle changes suggested above, and discuss your symptoms with your doctor. With complaints of chest pain, one should always consider if he or she is at risk for cardiac disease. Some of the risk factors include having high choleresterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or a smoker , and having a family history of heart disease. If you are unsure, contact your doctor right away.