Could Heartburn Medicine Be Killing You?

You know the sensation of acid reflux: It’s often a burning feeling that begins in the middle of your chest, and slowly creeps up toward your throat. In some cases, you might even taste the stomach acid as it rises. Yuck! If you experience reflux regularly, common wisdom is to go to the doctor to receive medication to keep the acid under control. Many times, doctors prescribe proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Popular brands include Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec. What you might not know, however, is that PPIs can be hazardous to your health — possibly even fatal.

Check out these ways that your heartburn medicine could be killing you.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack

According to a 2015 study published in PLOS ONE, people taking PPIs are at a higher risk of having a heart attack. Although the study showed as much as a 21 percent increased risk of heart attack in people taking PPIs, the researchers were unable to determine why the risk went up. Even more disturbing, the risk applied not only to the elderly or people with heart problems, but also to young, relatively healthy people in their 30s and 40s.

No matter what your heart health is like, putting yourself at risk of a heart attack for a condition that can often be controlled through diet and lifestyle changes does not make sense.

Increased Risk of Kidney Disease

In addition to being associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, PPIs can raise your risk of chronic kidney disease. Symptoms of kidney disease include itchy skin, poor sleep, increased urination, and swollen feet and ankles. It can eventually lead to the need for dialysis or even to death. If you are noticing these symptoms, especially if you’re also taking a PPI for heartburn, see your doctor.

Increased Risk of Dying in the Hospital

If you’re staying in the hospital after surgery or because you have a serious illness, you might get a new prescription for a PPI. It could be to control stomach bleeding or because you’ve developed heartburn from the stress of being in the hospital in the first place. Unfortunately, these medications seem to make it more likely that those in the hospital will develop pneumonia, C diff, or other types of superbugs that can cause death.

So, if taking PPIs for heartburn raises your chances of dying, what can you do about your heartburn? It should be noted that taking an over-the-counter antacid won’t cause a heart attack, kidney disease, or superbug, so those are always options, especially if your symptoms only occasionally appear.

Really, though, changing some aspects of your lifestyle can go further in not only reducing heartburn, but also keeping you healthier all around. Stop smoking, lose weight if you’re overweight, reduce your stress levels (try meditation or yoga), don’t eat greasy or fatty foods, and don’t go to bed with a full stomach. By making these smart changes, you very well might banish heartburn, without having to pop a pill or chew up a chalky antacid, at all.

About Dr. Christine, The Digestion Doc

Dr. Christine Kaczmar is the Founder & CEO of Omega Digestion.  She specializes in plant-based enzyme nutrition and powerful healing botanicals. Her practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Christine has helped thousands of patients find their way back to health from some of the “crappiest” health conditions like: Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Constipation, etc. “Freedom is my most sacred value, and I am on a mission to help as many people as possible regain theirs.” To schedule a consultation with Dr. Christine, call 586-685-2222.

The Digestion Doctor Dr. Christine Kaczmar
47729 Van Dyke, Shelby Charter Township, MI 48317