Heartburn—while the name may be misleading—is not a heart condition at all. It is a symptom of indigestion, making it a specialty of gastroenterology. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the upper chest which may radiate to the throat.

 

The sphincter, a tight band of muscles at the bottom of the esophagus, closes after eating. This closing prevents the food in the stomach from backing up. When the sphincter becomes weak or relaxed, food can re-enter the esophagus. Some people may experience burning after eating certain foods or drinking certain beverages. People's triggers can vary, but in general, it is best to avoid heavy, sweet, and fatty foods. Exercising to lose excess fat around the mid-section is also effective.

 

Over the counter medication is available to fight these unpleasant symptoms. However, if symptoms persist or if they are accompanied by shortness of breath you should see a doctor immediately.

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