Difference between GERD and Heartburn
Key Difference: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition in which digestive acid in the stomach flows into the esophagus causing pain and discomfort. The diseases is caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. Heartburn is a condition in which a person experiences a burning sensation or pain in the chest or just behind the breastbone. This burning sensation is caused by acid reflux or when the digestive acid flows up into the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn are related in many ways. Heartburn is actually a condition that is a result of the GERD. Heartburn is the pain and discomfort that is caused because of the constant regurgitation of the stomach acid into the esophagus. However, GERD is a chronic disease that allows the acid to flow continuously into the esophagus. GERD causes heartburn.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition in which digestive acid in the stomach flows into the esophagus causing pain and discomfort. The diseases is caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, including relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve type muscle that allows food only to travel one way. GERD is also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease. These changes could be temporary or permanent depending on the condition of the stomach and the lining.
Mayo Clinic defines ‘GERD’ as, “a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms.” While, many people occasionally suffer from this due to certain foods and lifestyle, reoccurring of this condition causes GERD, serious medical condition. Signs and symptoms of GERD include heartburn and acid reflux.
Heartburn is common and can occur as frequently has once a week for some people. However, any more than one per week can point to a much serious disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD is a chronic disease where acid constantly flow from the stomach to the lower esophagus, thus burning the esophagus. Long-term GERD can result in Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is a condition where the color and composition of the esophagus change due to constant exposure to digestive acid. Barrett’s can in-turn cause esophageal cancer. Heartburn can also be caused by other conditions such as inflamed stomach lining, peptic ulcer or a hiatal hernia.
Heartburn is a condition in which a person experiences a burning sensation or pain in the chest or just behind the breastbone. This burning sensation is caused by acid reflux or when the digestive acid flows up into the esophagus. The acid irritates the esophagus lining causing irritation and uneasiness to the person. Heartburn is also known as pyrosis, cardialgia, or acid indigestion. When a person eats food, the stomach is similar to a one way valve, which opens when food is supposed to go into the stomach. This valve keeps the stomach acid from flowing upwards and irritating the other organs. However, certain foods, medications, nicotine or lying down too quickly after a meal and excess weight, can cause the muscle that acts a blocking valve to relax. The relaxation causes the valve to open and allows the digestive acid to flow upward, causing heartburn.
Symptoms of heartburn include: burning feeling (in the chest or behind the breast bone), chest pain, burning in the throat, hot-sour or acidic taste in the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing, feeling of sickness or nausea, feeling of food sticking in the middle of chest or throat, coughing, sore throat, etc. Other rare symptoms include pain in the back, jaw, shoulders, neck or arms.
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