Magnesium helps in muscles and nerves function, steadies heart rhythm and keeps the bones strong. It also creates the much-needed energy and makes proteins in the body. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are muscle weakness, fatigue, hypocalcemia, sodium retention, nausea and heart problems. Whole grains, breads, nuts, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, beans, avocados, bananas, milk and chocolates contain magnesium.
One of the common stomach disorders encountered is gastro esophageal reflux also known as heartburn. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid which helps in digestion of the food and subsequently killing ingested microorganisms. The acidity of the gastric HCl is 2M and any increase in the acidity leads to reflux, in which the gastric HCl travels through the cardiac sphincter muscle to the esophagus causing burning sensation and discomfort. Antacids are common choice of drugs which are administered in these conditions as they reduce the acid reflux and peptic ulcer.
Antacids act locally in the stomach region to neutralize the effect of the gastric HCl in order to prevent the onset of peptic ulcer. Most antacids are not absorbed and they are easily excreted in the stool. The predominant forms of chemicals used in the preparation of antacids include sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum carbonate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate. The natural forms of antacids include ginger, bananas, aloe vera, chamomile (used along with tea), carrots and turmeric. The action of antacids on the stomach is carried out throughout the wall to prevent ulcer formation.
Types of antacids
Antacids are recommended depending upon the intensity of the gastric disorder. In normal or mild conditions of acidity, non systemic antacids are recommended as they do not cause much damage. Prolonged administration of systemic antacids may lead to a condition called alkalosis in which the PH of the blood is raised leading to renal failure. Some of the common types of antacids used in the treatment of reflux and peptic ulcers are:
Sodium bicarbonate: It is recommended by many doctors to treat acid reflux and also reduce the acidity of urine and blood. Antacids which contain sodium bicarbonate also contain baking soda and hence it is not recommended for patients having congestive heart failure, hypertension, kidney disorders and gastrointestinal bleeding. Antacids containing sodium bicarbonate should be taken only after meals on a partially full stomach. The side effects include nausea, flatulence, weakness, increased thirst, black stools and irritability.
Aluminum hydroxide: Aluminum hydroxide is widely used as a non-systemic antacid and in most cases is available without prescription. The side effects of aluminum hydroxide include constipation and abdominal discomfort. In order to avoid constipation and abdominal stress, aluminum hydroxide is given in combination with magnesium hydroxide which has laxative properties along with antacid effects The combination of two such compatible antacids helps in sustained action in relieving peptic ulcers and protecting the wall of the stomach.
Calcium Carbonate: These antacids are mainly used in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence along with acidity and more commonly used as it is less expensive than other types of antacids. They are mostly recommended for children below the age of 12. In patients who have a previous history of osteoporosis or any other type of calcium deficiencies, the intake of calcium carbonate in case of acidity also helps in balancing the calcium requirement. If patients have a history of renal calculi or any other allergic reaction, calcium carbonate antacids should be avoided. The major side effect of this antacid is that it interacts with cardiac drugs. Calcium carbonate based antacids usually disintegrate and dissolute in forty minutes.
Drug side effects
Antacids react with many medications; digoxin, isoniazid, quinidine, pseudoephedrine and tetracycline. The potency and absorption of the drug reduces when the antacids interact with the corresponding drugs.
Preeclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women and affects the mother and unborn baby. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is also known as pregnancy induced hypertension and toxemia. This condition can either develop over time or come on rapidly. Preeclampsia is noticed more often in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Women suffering from Preeclampsia are likely to give birth to low birth weight babies since this condition hampers the placenta from receiving enough blood.
Pregnant women over the age of 40 or those carrying multiple babies are at higher risk for developing Preeclampsia. Women who are already suffering from hypertension or kidney disease are more susceptible for developing pre eclampsia. Lack of magnesium or calcium can lead to pre eclampsia. This can occur due to poor diet or immune problems. Hormonal disruption can also lead to preeclampsia. Symptoms of preeclampsia include sudden weight gain and swelling. The pregnant women is likely to experience headaches and vision problems. There might be upper abdominal pain, dizziness and vomiting.
In most cases, the woman is relieved of this condition on delivering the baby. If the symptoms of preeclampsia are noticed early in pregnancy, care must be taken to keep blood pressure under control. The physician will advice a woman during the time of pregnancy on the amount of salt to be consumed as well as the amount of water to be taken in a day. Often this may require hospitalization. The baby is closely monitored with ultrasound. Aspirin or additional calcium may be prescribed to prevent Preeclampsia in women who are more susceptible to developing it. Magnesium sulfate is given to women suffering from preeclampsia when they go into labor.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 18, 2019