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About Acidity

Acidity is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems faced by people today. In technical terms, it refers to the pH value of an element. The pH value varies from 0 to 14 and is a sign of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous mixture. A value of zero means the substance is highly acidic, a value of 7 refers to neutrality and a pH of 14 indicates extremely basic or alkaline. Water is known have a pH value of 7.

In most of the cases, acidity is the outcome to excessive gastric acid production in the stomach. It often causes heart burn and other problems. The primary objective of the acid stashed in moderate quantities in the stomach is to help in the digestion of proteins that are taken. The pH of the stomach acid varies from 1.5 to 3.5.

Food eaten via the mouth travels through the pharynx (back of the throat), esophagus or the food pipe and goes into the stomach. Food is combined with saliva in the mouth and reaches the stomach in around seven seconds. At the end of the esophagus is the flap known lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that allows the food to get into the stomach.

The sphincter is basically a one-way flap that enables the food to travel from esophagus to stomach and not reverse. Infrequently, the acid or the food substances are pressed back into the esophagus from the stomach, and the esophagus lining gets troubled. The lining of the esophagus is not as well safeguarded as that of the stomach. This acidity of the esophagus leads to heartburn. The condition is often resulted as a painful burning sensation in the middle of the chest.

Symptoms and signs of acidity

Symptoms of gastric acidity include:

  • Burning sensation in the middle of the stomach
  • Pain in the upper abdominal area
  • Burning sensation in the chest and throat (commonly known as heartburn)
  • Heavy belching and often sour sensation during belching
  • Sour taste
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating

Causes of Acidity

  • Stress: Fast-paced lifestyle and stress can cause unhealthy or improper eating habits, none of which is favorable for digestion and may result into acidity.
  • Spicy Food: Consuming fatty or spicy foods is found to increase the risk of acidity.
  • Consuming too much alcohol could also be the reason behind the onset of acidity.
  • Skipped meals and then barging on junk food can cause high levels of acidity.

Risk Factors

Acid Reflux is known to affect people of all ages, often for unidentified reasons. Often, it is because of a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to causes that cannot always be prohibited.

One reason that is not avoidable is a hiatal (or hiatus) hernia. A hole in the diaphragm enables the upper part of the stomach to get exposed the chest cavity, sometimes causing Acid Reflux.

Other risk factors that can be easily managed:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking (active or passive)
  • Reduced levels of physical exercise
  • Medications, such as drugs for asthma, calcium-channel blockers, antihistamines, painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants
  • Pregnancy is also known to cause acid reflux due to heavy pressure being placed on the internal organs.

Complications of Acidity

When acidity is not managed properly at the right time, the excessive acid production in the stomach can affect the defense terminology of the stomach lining. Ulcers can be built in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. GERD is another complexity of long-term acidity.

  • Stomach Ulcers: - Stomach ulcers are made when the excessively acidic medium of the stomach hinders its defensive mucus lining and revealing the lining tissues to the acid. When the acid doesn’t get counteracted by the bicarbonates of the duodenum, ulcers get formed in the duodenal lining too.
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): - Also called acid reflux, it is a long-term condition in which the elements of the stomach bring up into the esophagus. This occurs when the esophageal sphincter flops to wedge the contents of the stomach from throwing back to the esophagus.

Prevention of Acidity

By taking care of small things in life, one can make a big and positive change in his or her life.

  • Consume more fruits and vegetables that are not very acidic.
  • Taking small-sized meals at fixed intervals.
  • Eating dinner at least 1 – 2 hours before going to bed.
  • Keeping a healthy weight.
  • Exercising.
  • Drinking at least 3 liters of water a day.
  • Not drinking water for up to half an hour before a meal and one hour after a meal.
  • Not using tight belts or clothes that poultice the abdominal region.

Treatments for Acidity


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