Nowadays, treatments for various medical conditions have become very accessible that we can have them anytime and anywhere we want to. For example, you’re at a buffet with your family and you felt that you ate a little too much that could possibly lead to a heartburn, you can easily take in one of those over-the-counter medications then and there and immediately feel relieved.
While the convenience of such treatments is a blessing, medical experts have warned consumers to remain cautious in terms of ingesting these medications. Recent studies have shown that excessive intake of such can cause a lot of adverse side effects that can greatly affect our overall health. This is especially applicable for heartburn medicines that have been discovered to be linked with kidney and heart diseases.
The Convenience of PPIs
For most people who usually suffer from heartburn, PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) is a household name. It comes in many different brands from various companies and can be prescribed over-the-counter. PPIs are considered to be one of the most sold medicines in the world. In the United States alone, more than 15 million people are using the said medicine. It is even included in the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, indicating its importance and impact to the lives of people all over the globe.
PPI functions by reducing the production of acid in your digestive tract thus, countering the effects brought about by conditions such as acid reflux and indigestion. The science behind PPI is pretty simple and because of its effectiveness, it has remained to be a popular medicine among consumers.
The Other Side of the Coin – PPI’s side effects
Despite its popularity and accessibility, there have been studies that have linked the usage of PPI with other kinds of health conditions, particularly with kidney diseases. In a research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, out of 250,000 respondents in their experiment, around 11-15% who take PPI medicines regularly are more exposed to the risks of developing chronic kidney diseases within a ten-year time-frame.
Another study from The BMJ in 2008 that examined 250 kidney biopsies revealed that six cases of acute interstitial nephritis were linked to the usage of PPI. Aside from kidney infections, usage of PPI medicines have also been associated with cases of heart attacks and bone fractures.
Finding an Alternative Route
Although it would seem that using PPIs can trigger other health conditions, the medicine is still continually serviced to the public given that the studies mentioned above do not really pose an alarming rate in terms of safety. However, it is still a good move to moderate its usage as its side effects are still very plausible.
Therefore, it is important to look for alternative and natural ways to combat heartburn in order to avoid resorting to PPIs. Here are some handy tips and tricks that you can use in case of a heartburn:
- Eat slowly and in small portions to allow your stomach to fully digest all that you consume
- Mix ½-1 teaspoon of baking soda to not more than eight ounces of water and have an instant solution for heartburn.
- You can also chew a sugar-free gum 30 minutes after eating to help improve your saliva production and avoid acid reflux
- Drinking aloe vera juice or apple cider vinegar before eating can also help ease out your digestive tract.
- Avoid eating spicy, oily, and acidic foods (ex. Citrus fruits)
- Allot at least 3-4 hours of eating time before you sleep.
These are some of the easy and effective ways to counter heartburn without resorting to PPI medication. If you can, try to use those mentioned above and if not, moderate your intake of PPI medicines to the best of your ability.
Do you have other tips that you can share about getting rid of heartburn? Your comments and suggestion may just help a friend in need.