Americans Need Education To Extinguish the Flames of Heartburn
realize heartburn could cause serious complications if left untreated?
If not, you're not alone. Sixty-five percent of Americans do not
realize heartburn is linked to asthma, chronic cough and even cancer in
rare cases, according to results of a recent survey conducted by the
National Heartburn Alliance (NHBA).
strikes more than 60 million Americans at least once a month and of
those sufferers, 43 percent do not even consider heartburn to be a
of this survey should serve as a wake-up call to patients and health
professionals by demonstrating that many heartburn sufferers do not
understand the symptoms, treatments and possible complications of one
of our country's most common medical complaints," according to Dr.
David Peura, associate chief and professor of medicine, division of
gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia and board
member of the NHBA.
Key findings from the survey include:
of heartburn sufferers say heartburn prevents them from doing things
they like to do, and 27 percent say this occurs once a week or more.
Nearly one in four of frequent heartburn sufferers have not contributed as much as they could at work because of heartburn.
More than half of heartburn sufferers have stayed home from work on account of their heartburn once a month or more.
Spotting the Symptoms
percent of those who say they don't suffer from heartburn reported
experiencing its most common symptoms — burning in chest, a
feeling that food is coming back into the mouth or a bitter taste in
the back of the throat.
than 10 percent mistakenly identified symptoms such as increased heart
rate, pain down the left arm and a lightheadedness as heartburn
than one-third claim to understand advantages of antacids compared to a
mere eight percent who understand the benefits of proton pump
percent of sufferers report taking antacids to "prevent" heartburn
— despite the fact that antacids can only relieve symptoms once
they have occurred.
One-fifth of sufferers report they take some kind of medication but "are not sure which kind."
percent of sufferers use home remedies. However, many of the home
remedies listed — sodas, mint , spicy foods and tomato juice
— can actually exacerbate heartburn symptoms.
For more information with the National Heartburn Alliance Web site at