heartburn, a painful condition that affects 50 million people,
can be more severe than daytime heartburn and lead to significant
complications like sleep deprivation, respiratory illnesses
and even cancer, according to the American Gastroenterological
media focus on heartburn has helped patients understand the
condition, but most of the focus has been on daytime symptoms,"
said Dr. Kris Kowdley, Seattle gastroenterologist involved
with the Nighttime Heartburn Relieve Effort, a national educational
program sponsored by the AGA. "Nighttime acid reflux
is a widespread and often undertreated health problem than
can lead to other more dangerous conditions."
heartburn can be more severe than daytime heartburn because
stomach acid stays in the esophagus for longer periods of
time while people sleep. Nighttime heartburn can lead to conditions
such as erosive esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus (a pre-cancerous
condition), and esophageal cancer. Nighttime heartburn sufferers
are nearly 11 times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus
than those who do not have heartburn symptoms, according to
a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Heartburn Relief Effort is a program bringing important information
about nighttime heartburn to physicians and patients regarding
the potential dangers associated with the condition, as well
as treatment options.
Medical Week staff,
week of April 28, 2002