What is Heart Burn?

Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in your chest or throat.  Heartburn sometimes called acid indigestion.

GERD disease is a condition where stomach acid persistently and regularly flows up into the esophagus.  Heartburn is a symptom of GERD.

According to estimates from the American college of gastroenterology, at least 15 million people experience heartburn every day and 60 million Americans at least once a month.

Stomach acid is strong acid produced by the stomach to help digest the foods people eat. Normally the acid stays in the stomach. When the acid backs up into the esophagus, it burns and causes an uncomfortable sensation known as heartburn.

The stomach has a special lining to protect it from the acid. The esophagus does not have this protection.  The esophagus may also be referred to as a food pipe or gullet and is the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.

Heartburn is a common problem created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents are forced back up into the esophagus. It creates a burning pain in the chest.

Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week is called gastroesophageal disease. Heartburn is felt when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, the pipe that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

The acid in the esophagus causes heartburn and other symptoms, as well as possible tissue damage.

The pain of heartburn can be confused with pain due to more serious heart problems, such as a heart attack.  Individuals especially need to be aware of this possibility if you or a family member has a history of heart disease.

  • If a person has chest pain accompanied sweating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or pain that worsens with activity, he should seek medical attention immediately.