You might be wondering how someone could mistake the symptoms of acid reflux for a heart attack, but there’s a reason why it’s called heartburn, after all.

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when a person’s stomach contents—including the gastric acids that help break down food—back up into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat and stomach. Stomach acid is highly acidic, hence, the burning sensation behind your breastbone; on the pH scale, it scores about a 2, falling somewhere between battery acid and vinegar. (Our stomachs are lined with protective membranes that shield it from the corrosive effects of acid, while our esophagus does not.)

The occasional reflux is fairly common and probably nothing to worry about, but if you’re experiencing it twice a week or more, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Left untreated over time, GERD can cause asthma, chest congestion, and a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which may increase your chances of developing a rare type of cancer.

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Health.com
February 29, 2016

Heartburn-Easing Foods That Fight GERDcurried-ginger-carrot-soupChoosing foods wisely is key  View slideshowMore about GERD

The most common—and most painful—symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is persistent heartburn. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus, the narrow tube that connects the throat and stomach. Everything from a big meal to stress can trigger acid reflux.

Heartburn isnt the only symptom of GERD, however. The condition can also cause a cough and difficulty swallowing, for instance.

It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of GERD. Left untreated, the condition can cause ulcers and erode the esophagus.

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