Spring Cleaning Your Lifestyle for a Heartburn-Free Year
04. 13. 2017
Spring is a time for new beginnings. The trees start budding, the flowers begin blooming, and soft blades of grass cover our once barren lawns. Mother Nature isn’t the only one who gets a fresh start every spring. You can too! If you’ve recently gotten off track with your health goals, spring provides the perfect opportunity to start fresh. Use this time of rejuvenation to make healthy changes that will relieve heartburn and reduce your need for medications.
An estimated 15 million Americans use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to control the symptoms of acid reflux. Although these are the strongest anti-reflux drugs available, they are not without risk. Studies have linked long-term use of PPIs to bone loss, kidney failure, heart attack, dementia, and stroke. To add to this concern, PPIs are largely overutilized. Many patients who take these medications could tolerate a much less aggressive form of therapy, which means they are placing themselves at unnecessary risk.
Many cases of acid reflux can be improved or eliminated through simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. These include:
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Staying physically active
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
- Not smoking
- Avoiding common trigger foods like tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic
- Avoiding spicy, fried, or high-fat foods
- Giving food adequate time to digest before lying down
Medications can be an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan for acid reflux, but they aren’t for everyone. If you currently take anti-reflux medications, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. There may be other therapies that can be just as effective without the unwanted risks and side effects.