Many people suffer from heartburn or indigestion on a regular basis, and some do not seek treatment. But when left untreated for a long period of time, the condition could become a serious medical problem. More than 40 percent of Americans suffer from some form of heartburn.

Persistent heartburn, occurring more than once a week, is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Dr. Russell Yang, professor and chief of gastroenterology at SIU School of Medicine, explains some additional symptoms.

Yang comments

GERD can be treated, and in most cases patients can lead more comfortable lives. Treatment often involves avoidance or reduction of certain foods and beverages such as caffeine, fried or fatty foods, alcohol and peppermint.