Millions experience heartburn and the more serious condition gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) daily. And research shows that nighttime heartburn affects nearly four out of five of heartburn sufferers -- disturbing sleep and impairing their ability to function the next day.
Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Some of the symptoms, however, are similar to those of a heart attack or heart disease.
Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid. This can create a burning discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone.
With gravity's help, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. The LES is located where the esophagus meets the stomach -- below...