Quiz - Hearts Afire

Despite its name and the sensation it causes, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Take this quiz to gain more knowledge about this common problem:

1. The band of muscle that closes off the esophagus when food or liquid enters the stomach is called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.

A. True
B. False

2. Some foods or beverages that can trigger reflux and lead to heartburn are:

A. Drinks with alcohol, caffeine, or carbonation
B. Chocolate
C. Citrus fruits and juices
D. All of the above

3. Heartburn is less likely to occur if you have a hiatal hernia

A. True
B. False

4. To avoid heartburn, you should also avoid:

A. Eating smaller meals.
B. Placing blocks under the back legs of your bed to keep your head higher than your stomach.
C. Eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime.

Answers:

1. A. True. If this muscle fails to close tightly enough, stomach contents can back up (reflux) into the esophagus. This partially digested material is usually acidic and can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn.

2. D. All of the above. Full-fat dairy products, peppermint and spearmint, tomatoes and tomato sauces, and spicy or fatty foods are also culprits.

3. B. False. A hiatal hernia means that the top part of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest cavity. This weakens the LES and makes it easier for acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

4. C. Eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach results in stomach contents pressing harder against the LES. Answers A and B will actually help you avoid heartburn.

 
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