How do you know if you suffer from acid reflux disease? The best way is to discuss it with your doctor to determine whether it is a bad case of heartburn or something more serious. There are a variety of treatments once a patient is diagnosed. Antacids neutralize acids, but only for a short period of time.

However, histamine antagonists last a much longer time. Histamine is a chemical that stimulates acid production. Released with in the walls of the stomach, histamine attaches to the receptors on the acid-producing cells. Histamine antagonists function by blocking the receptor, which prevents the histamine from stimulating acid.

Histamine antagonists can be found as over-the-counter medication and as a stronger prescription version. They should be taken 30 minutes before meals. The timing is to make sure histamine antagonists are at a peak level after the meal when the stomach actively produces acid. Histamine antagonists can also be taken at bedtime. However, people should be aware that histamine antagonists are used primarily for the treatment of persistent heartburn, not for the treatment of inflammation or complications, such as ulcers or erosions. An example, of a histamine antagonist is cimetidine, or Tagamet.

Another type of treatment medication for acid reflux disease is called proton pump inhibitors. A proton pump inhibitor works by blocking the secretion of acid into the cells by the acid-producing cells. Proton pump inhibitors work for a longer period of time and shut off acid more completely. These medications also help protect the esophagus from acid to help heal inflammation. An example of a proton pump inhibitor is omeprazole, or Prilosec.

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