Spice up Your Plate, get Heartburn Docs Say Junk Food With Cola Is Deadly Cocktail That Triggers Acid Reflux
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12 September 2011
By, Durgesh Nandan
New Delhi, India
A cup of tea with spicy snacks makes a rainy day perfect, while many cannot get through the day without a tall glass of iced cola. But new health studies reveal that the excessive intake of aerated drinks, caffeine and spicy food causes acid reflux or heartburn cases to rise significantly. Teenager are the worst-affected due to their poor food habits.
“The excessive intake of coffee, cold drinks and spicy snacks like pizza, burger and chips aggravates heartburn problems in children. They come with all kinds of serious health ailments related to the disease. In older people, poor eating habits, which include late night dinners and a sedentary lifestyle, is the main problem,” said Dr S C Sharma, head of the ENT department at AIIMS. He said that up to 50 per cent cases that the ENT department at AIIMS sees in a month includes patients complaining about acid reflux-related health complications which are caused, and in some cases aggravated by an excessive intake of aerated drinks and caffeine. Some of the most common symptoms of the disease are a recurrent sore throat, changes in the voice, fatigue and difficulty swallowing.
“Acid reflux is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back (refluxes) into the food pipe (esophagus).
The backwash irritates the lining of the oesophagus and causes a burning sensation in the chest, sometimes spreading to the throat, and leaving a sour taste in mouth. Obese, diabetic patients, pregnant women, children, hiatal hernia patients and smokers are at risk.
Usually oral medications are prescribed but there are some extreme cases in which surgery may be required to create a barrier preventing the backup of stomach acid or to tighten the lower oesophageal sphincter,” said Sharma.
Dr V K Paul, head of the pediatrics department at AIIMS, said that heartburn in children is caused due to a variety of factors which include a congenital defect or the presence of helicobacter bacteria. “Poor lifestyle and bad food habits increases the problem,” said Paul. Experts say that because AIIMS is a referral center the cases of acid reflux being reported here is often higher as compared to other medical centres.
Dr Anoop Misra, director, department of diabetes and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospital says that a few precautionary measures are all it takes to help check the disease. “Maintain a healthy weight, avoiding fatty or fried foods, energy drinks, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine.
Those suffering from acid reflux should not smoke because it decreases the lower oesophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly,” said Misra.