Thursday, 14 July 2011

Why Heartburn Is Such A Problem For So Many People

All you have to do is turn on your TV set and before long you will be hit by one heartburn commercial after another. Some of these products are over-the-counter solutions and others are available only by prescription. All promise near miraculous results. But…if they really worked there would not be a heartburn epidemic. One is left to wonder why heartburn is such a tremendous problem and why it continues to affect more and more people.
Yes, I used the word "epidemic" to describe the heartburn problem. Actually…the more accurate term should be "pandemic" because it is more than a just a U.S. problem.
So how big is the heartburn problem? According to the Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, digestive problems are the top health concern in North America. Compare this finding with the fact that a century ago the digestive problems that we experience today didn't even exist. Digestive problems are the number one cause of hospitalization, surgery, and disability in the United States affecting some 65 million Americans.
Wow. The number 1 health problem and there is a ton of money being thrown at it. It is estimated that in untreated individuals, the cost of heartburn is considered to be over $10,000 a year in terms of lost quality of life. Some premium heartburn prescriptions can cost the uninsured almost $2,500 a year, leading to an out-of-pocket burden of over $50,000 over a 20-year period. Furthermore, American businesses lose about $100 billion per year on lost productivity because workers aren't performing due to lost sleep due to nighttime heartburn.
Let's face it. Heartburn is big business. So there is little likelihood that heartburn will be eradicated. Why? Because curing it would shut down a multi-billion dollar industry. So the best we can hope for is relieving and controlling the problem. I know that sounds like gloom and doom but that's the way it is.
Heartburn has become a massive problem because of our modern lifestyle and diet. We overeat…and what we do eat fuels the problem. We are obese, fail to get adequate exercise, and consume chemicals to solve our physical and emotional problems.
When your problem escalates to the point that you have to get a doctor involved there are some very effective drugs for treating the problem. However, when prescribing the medication your doctor will also give you a speech about the need for a change in lifestyle and diet…which reflects directly back on the heart of the problem. "Lose weight, get exercise, and change your diet. Eliminate greasy, fatty, and spicy foods. Avoid chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol." Listen closely…because those words not only address what needs to be done to get heartburn and its related symptoms under control…they are also words that clearly tell us how heartburn got to be such a serious problem.
It is easy to see why heartburn affects so many people and it is equally easy to figure out what needs to be done to fix the problem. Unfortunately, we really don't want to do what is necessary to make it right. But…the answer is there if we really want it


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