By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than half of Americans say they have heartburn at one time or another, but there are concerns.

Those who treat it with common heartburn medicines on a regular basis may be putting themselves at a greater risk of a serious intestinal infection caused by harmful bacteria known as Clostridium Difficile.

Clostridium Difficile or C Diff, as it is called, kills more than 29,000 Americans each year.

It is usually seen on people who are on long-term antibiotics.

We have learned that people on heartburn medications tend to be more vulnerable to C Diff.

Another concern is if you are using the medications over a long-term basis you may have a more serious underlying issue with your GI system that you are covering up.