Middle-aged have more heartburn concerns

Heartburn is the new normal.

Acid reflux is on the rise in America, with 25 million people experiencing daily symptoms, according to the American Gastroenterology Association, up from 15 million only a decade ago.

Another 60 million people say they have heartburn once a month.

That's a whole lot of tummy trouble. Blame stress and an aging population – and above all, experts say, blame Americans' habit of eating too much.

Turn 40, and suddenly conversations about digestive issues take on urgent fascination. Garlic just doesn't sit right any more. Or Mexican food, maybe – or onions, or red wine. Or all of the above.

The ubiquity of acid reflux has turned it into a touchstone of middle-aged American culture, with over-the-counter medications proliferating in TV commercials and a loony variety of remedies like magnetic bracelets offered over the Internet.

Friends compare symptoms and remedies on Facebook. Sleeping through the night undisturbed by heartburn and digestive backup becomes a major life goal. The nightstand with the reading glasses and small vial of Tums has become a mainstay of 50-year-olds' home decor.

Relax, midlife Americans. It's not age. It's chronic overindulgence.

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