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Acid reflux

Written by: Jacob Palme, professor, Stockholm university

First version: 21 Jul 2015. Latest revision: 26 Nov 2015.

Question:

 Is acid reflux (heartburn) dangerous?

Answer:

Acid reflux occurs when stomach content rises into your esophagus (=gullet, throat, gorge) and causes pain in the throat or mouth, sometimes called heartburn.

Treatment of acid reflux

Acid reflux is prevented by medicines such as those whose names end with "prazol", for example esomeprazol and omeprazol. These medicines, however, often have unwanted side effects. An older medicine, with the name "ranitidin" sometimes helps and has no side effects.

Risks with acid reflux

Acid reflux is dangerous, because if it happens when you are sleeping, the reflux can get over to the windpipe. There, it may stop air from getting into your lungs, and can then cause death by choking.

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