Obese people may be more vulnerable to suffering from a form of acid indigestion, according to researchers from the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon, UK.
The UK research team followed patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when the stomach's digestive juices back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn symptoms. Researchers suspect that obesity may cause the valve separating the stomach and the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, to malfunction. This may be due to deposits of fat within the sphincter or tissues immediately adjacent to it, or changes in intra-abdominal pressure. In overweight individuals, it is not the valve that is at fault but probably the environment in which the valve exists.
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