Celebrate Parents’ Day by Visiting Your Doctor
07. 29. 2013
Yesterday was National Parents' Day, and there has never been a more perfect time to visit your doctor than this month for Parents’ Day, one of America’s newest holidays. National Parents’ Day is every fourth Sunday in July. This holiday was originated by President Bill Clinton for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.” Parents’ Day can serve as a reminder to parents to get health screenings and check-ups so they can stay well to parent their children.
One area of growing concern is how many Americans experience chest pain. More than 60 million people experience chest pain symptoms at least once a month, but they dismiss it as heartburn. If you experience chest pain, you should not take it lightly and you should make an appointment with your doctor. Pain or discomfort in the chest can indicate a deeper issue such as acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is a painful condition when stomach acid or bile can flow back into your esophagus. Backup occurs because of a weakened muscle between the esophagus and stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter. The repeated backup of acid can destroy the lining of the esophagus and be extremely painful.
Without a visit to your doctor, it is difficult to distinguish between heartburn and GERD. Some heartburn symptoms include:
- A sharp, burning sensation just below the breastbone or ribs
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sensation of food sticking in the middle of your chest or throat
- Chronic cough, sore throat or persistent hoarseness
- Burning in the throat or the feeling of something hot, sour, acidic or salty is at the back of the throat.
- Pain following meals when lying on back, exercising or when experiencing anxiety.
- Pain subsides when taking antacids.
- Pain usually not radiating to the shoulders, neck or arms.
- No cold sweat
Most heartburn can be controlled through diet, exercise and medication. When heartburn symptoms occur more than twice per week or interfere with your daily life, doctors refer to this as GERD. Often, GERD requires strong medication and even surgery to bring relief.
Some common symptoms of GERD are:
- Hoarseness and dry cough
- Sudden increase in saliva
- Bad breath
- Ear aches
- Chest pain, pressure and discomfort that may start high in the abdomen or may extend up the back or neck.
If you have chest discomfort and any symptoms of heartburn or GERD, make an appointment to see your doctor. He or she can order some tests to determine the source of your pain. If you have persistent chest pain, seek medical attention immediately as heart attacks have sometimes been mistaken for heartburn. Follow this rule of thumb: if in doubt, get checked out. Show your love for your children by making an appointment today. Happy Parents’ Day!