4 Heartburn Myths and the Truth About Them
By Kevin Edwards, President
Everyone has suffered a bout of heartburn at one time or another. But, if your aging relative suffers from frequent heartburn, you may be following advice that’s outdated or a myth. Knowing what’s true and what’s not may be the key to helping the senior in your life have fewer bouts of heartburn.
Below are 4 myths and the facts you should know.
Myth #1: Heartburn is really nothing to worry about.
Truth: It depends. If the older adult only has heartburn occasionally, then there’s no need for concern. However, if they have it often or if it’s severe, it could be as sign of another problem. Frequent or severe heartburn could mean they have a hiatal hernia. Or, they may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Left untreated, it can cause damage to the esophagus.
If the senior has frequent or serious heartburn, make an appointment with their doctor. Home care can provide transportation to the appointment, if needed.
Myth #2: Drinking milk can relieve heartburn.
Truth: Only temporarily. Drinking a glass of milk might calm heartburn symptoms for a short time. However, the latest scientific research shows that milk eventually increases the amount of acid in the stomach, which means that heartburn will likely return later.
Instead of drinking milk, the doctor may recommend using over the counter medications or a prescription medication. A home care provider can remind them to take the medicine.
Myth #3: Antacids are perfectly safe, so older adults can take several of them throughout the day.
Truth: Although antacids are safe, taking too many of them can cause problems like constipation or diarrhea, depending on how their body reacts. Also, if your aging relative is going through bottle after bottle of antacid tablets, they may have a more serious problem and should see a doctor.
A home care provider can monitor the number of antacid tablets the older adult is taking and let family caregivers know if there seems to be a problem.
Myth #4: Medicine is the only way to take care of heartburn.
Truth: Although medicine can help to manage heartburn, there are also several lifestyle changes that may also be useful, such as:
- Avoiding eating right before bed.
- Eating slowly.
- Avoiding foods that trigger heartburn.
- Raising the head of the bed.
A home care provider can prepare meals earlier in the evening so that the senior eats at least two hours before bedtime. Home care providers can also make foods that don’t include things that trigger heartburn.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in the Shawnee KS area, please contact the caring staff at Elder Care of Kansas City, today. Proudly serving Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass Counties in Missouri as well as Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas for over 30 years. Call us at 816-333-3322.
Kevin Edwards, President
Kevin’s life and the lives of his immediate family have been impacted by caregivers – either as a patient or a caregiver – for as long as he can remember. He watched his mother take care of his grandmother until her death at the age of 97. Five years later, his father passed from a neurological disorder that was subsequently confirmed as Lewy Body Dementia. In 2007, his wife, Lori, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The symptoms of Lori’s disease required Kevin to hire a caregiver during the periods of her relapses.
Prior to purchasing Elder Care, Kevin spent over 20 years in the health insurance industry. In his most recent position, he was in a financial operations role with Humana where he worked with doctors, nurses and other health professionals developing programs to keep Humana members healthy. Their focus on primary care and medication adherence improved the lives of thousands of seniors in Kansas City and the surrounding area.