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Senior Health Week: Acid Reflux - Ulcers
Health News You Can Use •

Acid Reflux - Ulcer News:

Nighttime Heartburn Can Lead to Dangerous Complications

Nighttime 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 Association (AGA).

"Recent 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."

Nighttime 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.

The Nighttime 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.

Source: Medical Week staff, week of April 28, 2002

 

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