Acid Reflux Disease
Many have heard of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). By the looks of it, it sounds serious and familiar at the same time. It almost sounds like acid reflux disease. GERD is very similar except it mostly affects the esophagus due to too much acid in the stomach flowing into your throat. Zantac (Ranitidine) is one way to treat this disease.
Let’s start first with some basic biology. When you eat, your food goes down the esophagus into your stomach. At the point where your esophagus and stomach meet, there is a valve so to speak that lets food enter your stomach and prevents stomach acid or bile from coming up. When this valve doesn’t work properly, acid kicks up into your throat and burns the lining causing ulcers. These ulcers lead to a burning sensation and left untreated can cause internal bleeding.
What is Zantac?
Zantac (Ranitidine) is called an H2 receptor antagonist. Zantac basically tells the stomach to stop producing acid. Your stomach produces hydrochloric acid to break down proteins from food so your body can use them. If the food is not broken down, the proteins are not absorbed and pass along through your digestive system. Too much acid can kick back into your esophagus; cause a burning sensation (heartburn) and even constant coughing. The problem with GERD is that it makes swallowing difficult to perform and you tend to regurgitate your food. Similar to when someone says that they threw up in their mouth a little bit.
Zantac Side Effects
Zantac (Ranitidine) has side effects such as reduced absorption of vitamin B12. Keep in mind that vitamin B12 is used for the formation of blood and has important roles in the brain and central nervous system. Zantac also prevents certain medications from being absorbed such as those combined with calcium carbonate. These drugs require stomach acid to break it down and be absorbed in the stomach or they just pass through the system without working. Other side effects include the risk of developing food allergies and an increase risk of infectious diarrhea. If you are susceptible to pneumonia, Zantac (Ranitidine), increases your chances.
Zantac is a nice option to have but like any other prescription drug there are disadvantages (side effects). You can prevent GERD naturally but it does involve some changes in behavior. Let’s begin with sleeping pattern. If you like to sleep on your back like me, acid reflux will not go away. When your body is lying flat, acid in the stomach will level off and pushes up against the valve in your esophagus. As you sleep, your muscles relax, and acid creeps its way into your throat. Sleeping on your side will take care of this problem since the acid will stay in your stomach.
Now, if you still want to sleep on your back, place two 6 inch blocks under your headboard posts. If you don’t have a headboard, you want to raise the bead where your head rests. This will elevate your body whereby acid stays in your stomach and doesn’t push up against the valve.
Those two options are the quick fixes. Your other options include weight loss which reduces the size of your stomach and the amount of acid produced. Small meal sizes at dinner. This is difficult for those of European heritage since your largest meal is often a late dinner. But who wants to skip Sunday dinner? The important things to avoid are late night meals with rich foods such as acidic fruit or juices (lemon juice, OJ), alcohol, fatty foods (bacon wrapped anything), coffee, tea, onions, peppermint and chocolate.
If you have had acid reflux disease, what have you done to reduce it?