Q: My husband takes Tums constantly for heartburn. He would rather suffer in silence than go to the doctor. Is this harmful for him? Janet T., Woodhaven
A: It could be harmful. If your husband’s heartburn is chronic, there may be a greater underlying health concern. It could be one of many problems — damage to the esophagus or a hiatal hernia for example. A major problem would be if it has caused changes in the tissue of the esophagus. There is a small chance these changes could lead to cancer. Evaluation of your husband’s symptoms is recommended — especially if he is 40 or older. Remind him that dealing with advanced disease is a lot harder than early diagnosis and treatment.
Q: How can I manage the effect of Crohn’s disease in my daily life and diet? Brad M., Dearborn Heights
A: Take your medications religiously. Avoid dairy products because they will worsen symptoms and can make you miserable — many Crohn’s patients are lactose intolerant. Red meats are a less favored dietary choice too. Beyond dairy and red meat, each person has individual responses to various foods. Practice mind-body awareness and make conscious choices in regard to the foods you consume. Take note of which foods make you feel worse or cause severe abdominal pain and avoid them in the future. Keeping a food journal is helpful. Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, ibuprofen and aspirin, etc.). Smoking is always a bad idea for anyone, especially if you have Crohn’s disease. Exercise may help control spasms.
Rana Sabbagh, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is the founder of GastroCenter of Michigan and Experior Weight Loss Clinic, 23500 Park St., Suite 2B in Dearborn. Do you have a health question for Dr. Sabbagh? Submit it by email to: [email protected]
All information provided in Ask The Doctor is intended for your general knowledge. Consult with your personal doctor or pharmacist for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of information you have read in any publication.