Hiatus Hernia
Hiatus Hernia can be defined as the displacement of a portion of the stomach through the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes from the chest into the abdominal cavity. In this disease, a part of the upper wall of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm at the point where the gullet passes from the chest area into the abdominal area.

The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle dividing the chest from the abdominal cavity. It is the muscle concerned with breathing, and it is assisted by the muscles between the ribs during exertion. It has special openings in it to allow for the passage of important blood vessels and for the food channel, the esophagus. 

It is estimated that about half the population over 60 years of age suffer from this disease although most will not show any symptoms. The correct diagnosis of a hiatus hernia is arrived by a barium meal x-ray test.

A Hiatus Hernia is characterized by pain behind the breastbone at the nipple level and lower, at the end of the breast one. Pain may also occur on the left chest and this is often mistaken for angina.

Other areas of pain are the base of the throat, right lower ribs and behind the right shoulder blade. The pain increases when the patient stoops with efforts and lies down. Other symptoms of this disease are heartburn, especially after a meal, a feeling of fullness and bloatedness, flatulence and discomfort on swallowing.

The chief cause is faulty diet. The consumption of white flour, refined sugar and products made from them, such as cakes, pastries, biscuits and white bread as well as preservatives, and flavorings devitalized the system and weaken the muscle tone. As a consequence, the muscles become less resilient, and connective and fibrous tissue suffers through poor nourishment and thus become more prone to decomposition and damage. This ultimately leads to disease like Hiatus Hernia.

Drinks like tea, coffee, alcohol, also affect the mucous lining of the stomach and irritate the digestive tract. These drinks, when taken with meals, encourage fermentation and produce gas.  This increases the distension of the stomach, causing pressure against the diaphragm and the esophageal opening and greatly increasing the risk of herniation. Other causes include sedentary occupations, without sensible exercise, overweight resulting from overeating, smoking, shallow breathing and mental and emotional tensions.