Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a disease in which acidic contents of the stomach get thrown up into the lower food pipe, causing damage to its lining. Its characteristic burning upper abdominal pain is often distressing and may be confused with that of a heart attack, thus earning its name ‘Heartburn’.

WHAT DO YOU TAKE FOR HEARTBURN?

The introduction of a class of drugs called ‘Proton pump inhibitors’ revolutionized the treatment for heartburn. It was once assumed a drug with almost zero side-effects. According to CBS News, recent studies have linked the use of Nexium, a popularly used heartburn medication, to kidney disease, dementia and heart disease. Subsequent laboratory techniques demonstrated an aging ‘wear and tear effect’ of Nexium on blood vessels. Currently, this ageing mechanism is believed to be the underlying culprit leading to these complications. Further stages of these studies can confirm whether similar changes occur in living cells in the human body.

DO YOU HAVE TO STOP OR CHANGE YOUR MEDICATION?

While the association is still controversial, in light of these results, caution is advised against the overly liberal use of these pills. Its widespread use and easy availability makes it more likely to be misused. They should not be consumed for periods longer than recommended, and without a doctor’s advice.

Different preparations of these medicines are recommended for varying uses, dosages and duration. It is best to ask a doctor for a prescription if you suspect you have heartburn or gastritis. Maintain regular follow-up and clarify if there is a need to continue or change your medicines.

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