Acid Reflux: Risks, Warnings, and Treatment Options

acid reflux

For many food enthusiasts, there is nothing better than a hot, spicy meal of food, drenched in sauce and mixed with peppers—but there’s also nothing worse than the pain and discomfort that follows. For those living with acid reflux, post-meal bliss can quickly turn into a burning, painful sensation that no amount of cold water can quench. If heartburn is frequently heating your chest, read on to review common symptoms, learn what may be causing your flare-ups, and understand your treatment options.

What is Acid Reflux?

Also known as acid indigestion or pyrosis, acid reflux is a common condition marked by a burning pain that appears in the lower chest area. The pain occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe. This misdirection of acid occurs when a valve that exists at the entrance to the stomach—the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close all the way when food is moving into the stomach. If the LES remains partially open, stomach acid can travel up through the esophagus.

When an individual experiences acid reflux more than twice per week, the condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?

The most common symptom of acid reflux is a painful burning sensation that resonates from your stomach, up through the chest and into the throat. Other symptoms of acid reflux may include:

  • A bitter or sour acid material that backs up into your throat or mouth, known as regurgitation
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Incessant hiccups
  • Bloody vomit
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat

How Common is Acid Reflux?

The American College of Gastroenterology reports that over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once per month, and 15 million Americans experience it daily. Acid reflux is the most common gut-related medical complaint treated by U.S. hospitals, as the related chest pain is often so severe that patients misconstrue it as a sign of a heart attack.

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Lifestyle choices, such as diet, obesity, and smoking, are the most common causes of acid reflux. Acid reflux may also be caused by such factors as:

  • A hiatal hernia, a stomach abnormality in which the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, allowing stomach acid to move up the esophagus
  • Eating large meals
  • Laying down or bending over immediately after a meal
  • Eating certain foods, including onions, garlic, mint, chocolate, tomato, citrus, and foods high in fat, or drinking such beverages as coffee, tea, alcohol, or carbonated drinks
  • Pregnancy
  • Some medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications

Treatment Options for Acid Reflux and GERD

For occasional heartburn, lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking or reducing your consumption of spicy, irritating foods, may reduce the frequency with which you experience heartburn. Chronic heartburn, however, can lead to severe complications, such as an inflammation of the esophagus, known as esophagitis, which can further cause bleeding, ulcers, and chronic scarring that narrows the esophagus, eventually making it difficult to swallow.

If you are suffering from heartburn pain regularly, talk to your doctor. He or she may diagnose you as experiencing GERD and may recommend, in addition to lifestyle changes, and over-the-counter prescription medication, such as antacids that neutralize stomach acid. In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an H-2-receptor blocker medication that reduces acid production, or a drug that both blocks acid production and heals the esophagus— known as a proton pump inhibitor.

If your heartburn symptoms are frequent and disruptive, make an appointment with one of our Nova Health compassionate care providers today.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Woman sleeping how much sleep

For many of us, sleep is a commodity—and we can never get enough of it. If you’re like most, you can’t help spending an extra fifteen minutes scrolling through your social media feeds when you know you should turn off the lights and go to bed. Couple that with a morning routine that has you waking up early to get your kids ready for school and commute to work, all before 8 a.m., and most days, you’re left feeling sluggish and foggy before you get to your 11 a.m. staff meeting.

How much sleep do you really need every night? We all hear stories of billionaire entrepreneurs who claim only to need (need) three hours of sleep every night, but is such little sleep realistic or healthy? How can you tell what your personal, optimal amount of sleep is, and more importantly, how can you get it? We’ve got the 411 on all the Zzzs.

How Much Sleep Do You Need at Night?

The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep at night, but according to the National Institutes of Health, is only getting seven. The difference between how much sleep you get and how much you need is critical because the amount of sleep you can get by on is not the same as the amount of sleep you need for optimal health and wellness.

Age Matters

It is important to note that throughout your life, the amount of sleep you will need will fluctuate. Consider the following recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:

Average Sleep Needs by Age

AgeHours NeededMay be appropriate
Newborn to 3 months old14 – 17 hrs11 – 19 hrs
4 to 11 months old12 – 15 hrs10 – 18 hrs
1 to 2 years old11 – 14 hrs9 – 16 hrs
3 to 5 years old10 – 13 hrs8 – 14 hrs
6 to 13 years old9 – 11 hrs7 – 12 hrs
14 to 17 years old8 – 10 hrs7 – 11 hrs
18 to 25 years old7 – 9 hrs6 – 11 hrs
26 to 64 years old7 – 9 hrs6 – 10 hrs
65+ years old7 – 8 hrs5 – 9 hrs

Can You Get Too Much Sleep?

If you believe you may be suffering from the opposite issue—obtaining too much sleep every night—know that you can overdo it. New research shows that sleeping too much may be linked with health hazards that include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Higher all-cause mortality

How to Find Your Sleep Sweet Spot

Since the amount of sleep that you need every night is individualized, to determine if you are getting an optimal amount of nightly rest, keep a sleep journal for a few months. Document what time you went to bed and what time you woke up, and assess you how you feel the next day. If you are getting optimal rest, you will feel energized and mentally acute. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you will feel low-energy and mentally fuzzy.

If you already know you need to commit to longer nights’ sleep, click here for tips on healthy sleeping habits you can start today.

Nova Health: Ribbon Cutting and 100 Free Flu Shots

free flu shots

The community partner in wellness hosts ribbon cutting and flu shot giveaway, commits to keeping patients at the center of care

EUGENE, Ore. – October 21, 2019 – Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Lane and Douglas Counties, announced its rebrand from the Eugene Urgent Care, Prime Care Partners and Atlas Physical Therapy.

Eugene, Roseburg, Thurston, Junction City and Pleasant Hill Urgent Care among other primary care and physical therapy clinics in Lane and Douglas counties are now known as Nova Health. As a longstanding member of the community, the rebrand and name (nova, a new star is defined by the collaborative formation of a new entity that is stronger and brighter than its individual components) represents the company’s unified commitment to providing immediate access to outpatient medical care under one umbrella, including rural and underserved communities.

“As Lane and Douglas counties’ partner in health and wellness, we are excited to reaffirm Nova Health’s partnership with our community,” said Bill Clendenen, Nova Health Chief Executive Officer. “We know that this community has a choice in where they go to receive care and Nova Health remains focused on a bright future in healthcare that revolves around what our people do best: caring for our patients.”

The rebrand has been marked by updated Nova Health facility signs and updated marketing materials at all 14 clinic sites. Current and future patients can now easily identify Nova Health clinics, reassuring they will receive quality, patient-focused medical care.

Nova Health will host a ribbon cutting and open house for the entire community to celebrate the clinic’s brand unity and continued care practices. The clinic will also be providing free flu shots to the first 100 people. Details below:

WHAT:                 Nova Health Ribbon Cutting and Flu Shot Giveaway

WHEN:                 October 31, 2019


WHERE:               Nova Urgent Care – Thurston

                              5781 Main Street, Springfield

                              RSVP here on the Nova Health Facebook page

VISUALS:  100 community members receiving free flu shots

                              New signage and clinic tours

WHY:  Recent studies show that young people (ages 18-34) are increasingly relying on “immediate care” services in non-emergency situations including urgent care clinics compared to older generations. Nova Health understands the need for immediate access to medical care is more and more prevalent and is therefore committed to providing such services and options for patients to receive affordable and consistent healthcare.

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane and Douglas Counties, Nova Health is an outpatient healthcare organization that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services. Our focus is on providing high-quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 14 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge, Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Kristine Rice


Five Morning Habits of Highly Successful People

5 Morning Habits

Do you ever feel like some people just have it all together? Maybe it’s the dance mom who never seems frantic on Wednesday afternoons with her perfect outfits, perfect hair, and perfectly manicured nails, or the co-worker in your office who is always sitting at his desk sending out brilliant ideas via email before you even make it into the office.

If it seems like some people can produce a type of daily lifestyle efficiency you feel is unobtainable, know that nothing is stopping you from being just as prepared, organized, and optimistic, except for your daily habits. By adopting the following five proven-effective morning habits of highly successful people, you too will be able to do it all with Zen, no matter what the day throws at you.

  1. Follow a Consistent Wake-Up Routine
    Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekends) not only trains your body to fall asleep and wake up more quickly, but it also allows you to be consistent in your morning routine. Nothing sets your morning off on a rough start like running late. If you consistently oversleep, you set yourself up for the panicked morning rush and the anxiety it brings or failing to do something you need to set your day off right—like eating a healthy breakfast.
  2. Wake Up Early. Like, Really Early.
    Not only do you want to wake up at the same time every day, but you’ll also want to wake up early. Some of the world’s most successful people report that they wake up at five or even 4 a.m. If you must be at work by 8 a.m., and you have a 30-minute commute, a 7 a.m. alarm won’t give you the time you will need for healthy habits like meditation, exercise, and eating a healthy breakfast. Commit to slowly moving your wake-up time backward, even just five minutes a week until you are part of the pre-sunrise morning crew.
  3. Get Active.
    If you’re wondering what to do with all the extra time you have in the morning, use it to get active. Daily exercise—even 20 to 30-minutes, can help reduce stress, burn calories, and help keep you fit. Not getting enough exercise can leave you feeling sluggish, fatigued, and unmotivated. A morning jog, yoga session, or workout at your local CrossFit gym will leave you feeling confident and ready to take on your world.
  4. Reflect.
    Take time, even if only five minutes, to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and what you hope to accomplish that day. Many successful people rely on a hand-written to-do list to help them organize and prioritize their tasks for the day. Your list may include personal responsibilities, work requirements, or a mix of both. Throughout the day, check-in with your list, cross off what you have accomplished, and adjust where needed. By the day’s end, seeing how many vital tasks you completed will give you a sense of confidence that will motivate you to tackle tomorrow.
  5. Meditate.
    Before you say that meditation doesn’t work for you, know that there is no right or wrong way to meditate, as long as you take even five minutes to breathe with intention and reflect on what makes you feel grateful, happy, or content. For more tips on how to meditate, review this article from our experts.

Our final piece of advice is not to be too hard on yourself if, on any given morning, things go off the rails. Life happens to all of us, and even the best-laid plans often go awry. When life’s interruptions and disruptions occur, recommit to your morning efficiency plan, and try again. We promise, if you ask all the people in your life who seem to be winning the morning, they’ll tell you that even they have bad days too, but their secret to success is perseverance—and now it’s yours too.

The Days are Getting Shorter—Are You Feeling the Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SADs-Seasonal Affective Disorder

We’re in full Fall swing, which means baseball playoffs, pumpkin spice everything, cool, crisp weather, and shorter days. If you’re like most people, even if you love Autumn, you secretly crave more hours of sunlight every day. Why? Our bodies naturally crave the energy and mood-boosting power of the sun. When we start to experience fewer regular hours of daylight, especially as Fall turns to Winter, it can begin to impact your mood, especially if you are sensitive to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). What is this moody condition, and how might it be affecting your internal happiness-o-meter? Read on to find out.

What is SAD?

SAD, often referred to as major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, is a type of depression that’s associated with the changing of the seasons. Those who experience SAD most often feel a decline in their mood in the Fall and Winter months. While experts still need to conduct more research on the causes of SAD, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) believes the condition may be triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight, causing a chemical imbalance in the brain and a disruption of the circadian rhythm (our internal clock).

While the APA reports that only about five percent of Americans experience SAD annually, it can plague their mood for up to 40 percent of the year.

SAD Symptoms

Symptoms of Fall and Winter SAD may include:

  • Regular feelings of depression or hopelessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Being easily agitated
  • Reduced interest in hobbies and activities
  • Feelings of low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating

In the most severe cases, SAD can result in thoughts of death or suicidal ideation.

What to Do if You Believe You are Experiencing SAD

If you notice a recurring, negative impact on your mood and emotional wellbeing during times of the year that experience less consistent daylight, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to diagnose whether or not you are experiencing a seasonal, or more persistent form of major depressive disorder, and can prescribe a treatment plan. Common treatments for SAD include:

  • Psychotherapy – Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients understand and manage their reactions to certain situations and environments.
  • Prescription Medication – For some, antidepressant medications help to increase serotonin levels, improving mood, and lessening feelings of depression.
  • Bright Light Therapy (Phototherapy) – During this treatment approach, a patient sits in front of a lightbox for twenty minutes to an hour daily, ideally in the morning hours, during the times of the year when they typically experience SAD. The light exposure may help to restore the patient’s normal circadian rhythm.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Changing one’s routine to maximize exposure to sunlight may also help improve mood. Committing to an afternoon walk, changing window dressings to allow more natural sunlight into rooms, and sitting near a window during work hours are all helpful tactics. Obtaining regular exercise and eating healthy also help to stabilize and improve mental health.

The days are only going to keep getting shorter until we reach the Winter solstice. If you believe you may be feeling the effects of shorter, darker days, make an appointment now to talk to your Nova Health provider. Together we will build a plan so that you can maximize your enjoyment of every day, regardless of the season.