Newswise — WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Jan. 18, 2012 – NFL football teams may be feeling the heat during the playoffs, but fans are experiencing it as well. Heartburn hardship is taking over tailgating parties as more and more football fanatics reach for fried snacks, dips and finger foods. John Fortunato, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist and associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, discusses why heartburn occurs and offers tips on how to avoid it. Heartburn or acid reflux can be triggered by a variety of factors including:• Types and portions of food • Stress• Smoking• Medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or an abnormal stomach muscle/nerve function To avoid this uncomfortable experience:• Eat smaller portions and do it slowly.• Avoid spicy or acidic foods.• Substitute fried foods with items that are grilled or baked.• Steer clear of caffeinated, carbonated or alcoholic beverages.
“It’s important to understand that it is not uncommon for this to occur occasionally, however if heartburn or acid reflux happens constantly it could lead to more serious health issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can result in inflammation of the esophagus, called esophagitis, causing pain or difficulty swallowing,” said Fortunato. “If that is the case, you should talk to your primary care physician and see what treatment options would work best.” For more health information and tips visit http://www.wakehealth.edu/Health-Central/Articles/.