Avoiding Heartburn: 10 Tips for Thanksgiving, GERD Awareness Week
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease symptoms affect a majority of U.S. adults
is not by chance GERD Awareness Week (Nov. 24-30) occurs around Thanksgiving. A
common symptom for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is heartburn, which
can be triggered by overeating. Approximately 60 percent of adults experience
some type of GERD every year, and 20 percent of the nation is affected weekly.
“Last year alone we treated almost 20,000 patients in the D.C. area with GERD symptoms like heartburn,” said Arnold Levy, MD, Capital Digestive Care president and CEO. “We developed this list of tips to avoid heartburn because we want everyone to not only enjoy their Thanksgiving meal, but decrease the after-effects that plague many of us.”
10 Tips To Avoid Heartburn This Thanksgiving
1-5 – Eat this, not that:
1. White meat – High-fat foods spark acid reflux, so steer clear of dark and fried meat.
2. Baked potato – Avoid mashed potatoes, which tend to have heavy cream and butter.
3. Non-stuffed stuffing – Cook a batch outside of the turkey to decrease the fat content.
4. Veggies – Head for the steamed vegetables instead of the casserole. Also, be careful of the flavoring you use – spicy foods are heartburn’s friend.
5. Water – Use your imagination with your beverage because alcohol, acidic juices, caffeinated and carbonated drinks can all trigger heartburn.
6-10 – Do this, not that:
6. Nibble, don’t gobble – Eat small portions. Let your food digest – literally – before having seconds.
7. Hold the ‘mode’ – Enjoy desserts in moderation and if you can, skip the ice cream or whipped cream, which add fat and aggravate heartburn.
8. Exercise – Let activity aid the digestive process. Take a walk, not a nap.
9. Wear loose clothing – Tight-fitting belts and apparel can squeeze your stomach, which can lead to food making its way back into the esophagus.
10. Treat – Use OTC or Rx
treatments as directed for temporary relief. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.
Occasional heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is common and often responds well to over-the-counter medications. Reflux is a condition where food or liquid in the stomach flows back into the esophagus. GERD is diagnosed when symptoms occur frequently (two or more times per week). It’s important to see a specialist for GERD treatment. Many people ignore or mask their symptoms with over-the-counter medications, but the underlying condition can persist and develop into something more serious.
“Because GERD can lead to severe conditions like Barrett’s esophagus and even cancer, early detection and treatment is vital,” said Dr. Faisal Bhinder, a Capital Digestive Care gastroenterologist with special training in the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus. “This is why at Capital Digestive Care we offer a comprehensive service that can be customized to the needs of the individual patient, ranging from screening and diagnosis through treatment.