Risk factors for heartburn: excess weight, smoking


Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:13pm EST

(Reuters Health) – Excess pounds and smoking might each raise the likelihood of frequent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a large study from Norway.

Other factors linked to higher odds of new GERD symptoms included getting older, being a woman, having less education, and even quitting smoking – if it led to weight gain.

“Heartburn and acid regurgitation are very frequent, up to 30 percent of people in Western populations have these complaints at least weekly, so we wanted to know more about the reasons why these symptoms appear,” said Dr. Eivind Ness-Jensen, the study’s senior author.

GERD is defined as having “troublesome” symptoms of acid reflux – where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus – or complications of reflux at least once a week, the study team writes in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Other symptoms include hoarseness, laryngitis, dry cough and increased saliva. GERD can also eventually lead to precancerous changes in the esophagus.

To see what characteristics predict development of GERD, the researchers analyzed data on nearly 30,000 people in Nord-Trondelag County, Norway.

Subjects were interviewed in 1995-1997 and again in 2006-2009.

They had no GERD symptoms in the first interview. By the second interview, 510 people had severe GERD symptoms and 14,406 still had no GERD complaints. People with very mild or less than weekly symptoms were excluded from the comparison.

The researchers found a steady increase in GERD risk with greater excess weight, based on body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height. A BMI of less than 25 is considered normal, 26 to 29.9 is overweight or “pre-obese” and 30 or above is obese.

In the 12-year study, the risk of developing GERD rose by 30 percent with every one-point increase in BMI, regardless of the person’s starting BMI.

People who smoked cigarettes or had smoked previously were 29 to 37 percent more likely to develop GERD than never-smokers.

And those who stopped smoking but whose BMI rose more than 3.5 points after quitting were twice as likely to develop symptoms as people who had never smoked. Read the rest of this story on Reuters Health.

The following commentary regarding “Risk factors for heartburn….” by Dr. Brent Hunter:

Wellness Solutions for Heartburn Risk Factors

When it comes to heartburn or GERD, it is vitally important to understand the following:

  1. The acid produced by your stomach is absolutely necessary for proper digestion and health.
  2. Artificially lowering your stomach acid with drugs like Nexium comes with detrimental effects to your health.

Read this Wellness Achiever post to learn the details of these 2 keys: Acid Reflux Drugs May Cause Dementia and Neuropathy

If you are a parent, then you know that heartburn is not only an adult problem. It is very common problem for infants and children as well. In addition to the above article, check out how Pediatric GERD is Relieved with Chiropractic Care.

An anti-inflammatory diet is a major key to producing a healthy digestive system. However, there are many (sometimes confusing) ideas about diet. Here are 8 Tips to Beat Inflammation with Your Diet that will help you cut through the confusion.

As this new research indicates, carrying excess weight is certain to increase your risk of heartburn. The anti-inflammatory diet described in the article link above is one of the most important considerations for safe, fast, effective weight loss. A very close second is practicing the right type of exercise. This exercise produces the metabolic conditioning in your body that causes excess fat to burn off naturally.

These are just a few of the most important Wellness Lifestyle Factors that will reverse heartburn risk factors naturally. Other important considerations include proper stress management, chiropractic care and high-quality probiotic supplements. As you continue to peruse the articles here at Wellness Achiever, I hope you are inspired to take charge of your health future! Defeating heartburn and any disease is possible when you are empowered to adopt a Wellness Lifestyle.


Reuters Health

The American Journal Gastroenterology 

Chiropractic Physician

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