Over the years, a lot of people have not been able to find out the difference between acid reflux and heartburn. Although they are slightly similar in some aspects, they are not the same. Knowing the difference between the two is extremely beneficial. One will be able to tell the difference between the two in the event that one develops either one. He or she will also be able to know the measures that can be taken to get relief from them. The following are a few differences between these terms.
Heartburn is an effect, acid reflux is the cause
When one has a meal or a snack, the digestive process begins. The food goes into his or her stomach and it begins to get broken down for it to be absorbed. Digestive juices and the stomach muscles are the things that enable the food to be broken down in order for them to be absorbed by the body.
Digestive juices are mainly acidic in nature. The lining of the stomach enable them to break down the food particles in order for them to be digested. One’s esophagus does not have this lining. This means that if the digestive juices were to come in contact with the food pipe, one is likely to experience discomfort.
There are occasions where the digestive juices flow from the stomach to the food pipe. This back flow is what is referred to as acid reflux. It may be caused when the muscles that are required to separate the stomach from the food pipe are relaxed or when one lies down immediately after having something to eat.
After the digestive juices have flowed back into the food pipe, one will slowly begin to have a burning or a tightening sensation in their chests. The burning sensation is what is referred to as heartburn. Without acid reflux, it would be impossible to develop heartburn therefore acid reflux causes heartburn.
In conclusion, there is a clear cut definition of what heartburn is and what acid reflux is. It is important to understand the difference between the two to ensure that one knows the steps to be taken in the event that one suffers from this condition. Being knowledgeable about the subject will also enable one to be able to appreciate the severity of the condition as well.