Thursday, January 22, 2009

Health Tips for January 22

Health Tip: If You've Got GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach contents back up into the esophagus, often causing a feeling of heartburn.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons offers these suggestions to help tame GERD symptoms:

  • Lose weight. Most people are helped "substantially" when they lose significant weight, the society says.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Eat meals at least several hours before bed time, giving the stomach some time to empty.
  • Keep the head of the bed about 6 inches to 8 inches higher than the foot of the bed.
  • Steer clear of smoking, high-fat foods, spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications to help control GERD. And while on the subject of medications, ask your doctor if anything you're taking could actually be making your symptoms worse.

Health Tip: Is GERD Causing Sleep Problems?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause symptoms during the night that can prevent a good night's sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation offers these suggestions to keep GERD symptoms calm at night:

  • Be careful of the foods you eat from late afternoon until bedtime. Try to avoid spicy foods, onions and chocolate.
  • Eat a larger meal at lunch, and have a small, light dinner.
  • Don't eat anything after two or three hours before you plan to go to bed.
  • Don't drink alcohol or smoke before bed.
  • Sleep on a pillow or two, with your head and shoulders elevated.
  • Try sleeping on your left side.

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