November 14, 2007 Edition

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Heartburn facts are
important to know Andrea Cavenaugh, student
UAMS College of Pharmacy

Heartburn is a common problem often disregarded by many people. More than 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month ? the same number of people who suffer from the common cold each year. More than 50 million suffer from frequent heartburn, which is heartburn that occurs two or more days a week.

Despite the vast numbers of people affected, statistics show that the American public is not receiving sufficient education and support regarding this potentially serious condition. Consider the following:

Heartburn is caused when acidic stomach juices reflux into the esophagus. Smoking, certain foods and even the type of clothing you wear can induce heartburn. Avoiding these heartburn triggers can help, but if lifestyle adjustments are not enough, the next line of defense is medication.

Medication options range from easily accessible over-the-counter medications to potent prescription options that must be monitored by a physician.

November has been declared Heartburn Awareness Month by the National Heartburn Alliance. What a wonderful time to think about heartburn as people tend to overindulge in foods and drinks during the holiday season. If you suffer from heartburn, help is available. Ask your physician or pharmacist about treatment options.

(Note Andrea Cavenaugh is a graduate of Walnut Ridge High School. She is the daughter of Ronald and Kathy Cavenaugh.)

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