The Danger of Self-Medicating For Reflux Without a Diagnosis
Maybe it’s my age, but I’ve been hearing more and more about people that I know who are going in to be checked for problems with their hearts. Recently, my husband came home with a story of three co-workers. The first two went in earlier this spring because of concerns of chest pains. The doctors ran a battery of tests and everything came back fine. Reflux was suspected as the cause of the pain.
The third though has a different story. He too had chest pain and overall wasn’t feeling very well like his colleagues. He is 42 years old. He eats relatively well, exercises, and is within a normal weight range. It would’ve been easy to suspect reflux given his relatively low risk lifestyle for heart problems. But, his battery of tests came back that he has 90% blockage in a major vessel in his heart and smaller blockages in others as well. He got one stent put in right away and is now waiting for a cardiac bypass!
These three men are important to think about because we often get questions from people about having chest pain and should they see a doctor. Should they treat for reflux, etc. The first two men in this story would’ve been fine had they self-medicated. The third could’ve died. In fact, his heart was so bad that the doctor said had they chosen to do a stress test it’s likely he would not have survived it!
Heart disease is a very real problem and we need to have our symptoms checked out before we self-medicate. Sure, no one wants to have to deal with the time, cost, etc. of tests to find out they have gas but because the symptoms of reflux and heart problems overlap so much, it’s just not worth the risk.