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Mix one giant football game and screaming fans, with a couple of burgers, an assortment of beverages, chips and dip and what do youhave―a recipe for heartburn. In an effort to ease the pain for heartburn sufferers on "Super Sunday,” Alvarado Hospital’s specialist Dr. Donald Lipkis offers important tips to help fans enjoy the big game.

"All of the ingredients in a Super Bowl party can spell disaster for those who experience mild heartburn or stomach problems,” said Dr. Lipkis. "Heartburn is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the world with more than 25 million Americans suffering from the condition on a daily basis.”

According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), more than 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn. About 7% of people suffer from it daily and twice as many have it weekly. Heartburn, the most common symptom of acid reflux, is a burning discomfort in the chest or throat that results when harsh stomach acid comes into contact with and irritates the delicate lining of the esophagus.

According to Dr. Lipkis, those who experience frequent heartburn over an extended period of time may be exposing their esophagus to permanent damage and even possibly esophageal cancer if not treated early by their physician.

Mild symptoms can be treated by taking over-the-counter medications including Pepcid AC®, Tagamet HB® and Zantac 75® as well as making additional changes to your diet and lifestyle. If symptoms continue to persist after four weeks, schedule an appointment with your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.

Alvarado Hospital and Dr. Lipkis offer the following tips to help patients reduce symptoms:

  • Avoid lying down right after eating and within two to three hours of bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of the bed four to six inches.
  • Lose weight if overweight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid eating large meals. Instead, eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Avoid: chocolate; coffee and alcohol; fried and fatty foods; mint products (i.e., peppermint, spearmint); carbonated beverages, and citrus fruits or juices; tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard and vinegar; and aspirin and most pain medicines (other than acetaminophen).

"Above all, be cautious about heartburn," Dr. Lipkis added. "Heartburn and acid reflux are sometimes mistaken for heart problems. Conversely, serious heart problems are often brushed off as simply heartburn.”