Patricia Sánchez, M.D.By Patricia Sánchez, MD

More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month. It is common to experience a little heartburn after eating spicy foods or drinking alcohol. It may feel like chest pain or burning after eating, a sour taste in the back of the throat or hoarseness. Occasional symptoms are often prevented by avoiding trigger foods and treated with antacids to decrease heartburn and acid indigestion. But suffering daily, long-lasting or frequent heartburn symptoms should not be ignored and may indicate a more serious condition.

As many as 15 million Americans, including pregnant women, suffer from daily heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic but treatable digestive disorder that refers to irritation and damage of the lining of the esophagus from prolonged exposure to stomach acid. This damage occurs because of a weakening or relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this valve is weakened, food and acidic stomach juices will leak up into the esophagus.

What Causes Heartburn? 

  • Food/Beverages
  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and products, such as oranges and orange juice
  • Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods
  • Pepper
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauces
  • Medication
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Certain esophageal conditions or diseases

Typical treatments for GERD include medication to reduce the acid and lifestyle changes to help reduce the reflux symptoms – such as avoiding trigger foods, decreasing portion sizes, losing weight, quitting smoking, elevating the head of the bed, and not eating before bedtime.

HeartburnFor certain patients who have had chronic acid reflux, an upper endoscopy may be recommended to assess severity and to uncover any pre-cancerous changes. If GERD is left untreated or unmonitored for a long period of time, it can result in a condition called Barrett’s esophagus which can progress to cancer.

Barrett’s esophagus is a disorder in which the inflamed, acid-damaged cells in the lining of the lower esophagus change to resemble those found in the stomach. As a result of this transformation, Barrett’s patients have an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

At Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, many of our physicians are specially trained in the treatment of GERD and Barrett’s esophagus. If you’ve noticed that your heartburn symptoms are frequent, severe, longstanding, or getting worse, schedule an appointment today.

Patricia Sánchez, MD, is a board-certified gastroenterologist with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates and sees patients at the Johns Creek location. She evaluates and treats all types of digestive and liver diseases and has a special interest in women’s digestive health and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder that involves chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. A native of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Sanchez completed her medical degree at the INTEC School of Medicine in Santo Domingo, residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She speaks Spanish, French, and Italian. 

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates • Dr. Patricia Sánchez •

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By Eugene Hurwitz M.D.By Eugene Hurwitz, M.D.

You’re walking through the park. The sun is shining. The leaves are green. Flowers are blooming. Signs of the seasonal transition to spring are all around. The other less fortunate red flags? Your stuffy nose, itchy eyes, lots of sneezing, and coughing.

Some turn to daily allergy pills or even shots to alleviate these symptoms, but don’t always have success. Now, with the help of springtime allergy drops from The Center for Allergy and Asthma, you can stop the symptoms before they ruin your walk in the park or other favorite spring pastime.

Why are spring allergy drops an effective alternative to shots and other forms of medication?

For patients with severe allergies, including springtime allergies, sometimes medications are not enough. Our drops, which are only taken during the spring for 3 to 4 months, allow patients to enjoy the season with much reduced allergy symptoms. If the drops are started one month before spring, they will help reduce symptoms by as much as 80 to 90%.

Spring Allergies

Who is a candidate for allergy drops?

Anyone who suffers from spring allergies not controlled by medications is a candidate for drops, including most children ages 5 and older, as well as adults.

Are they as effective as other methods?

Allergy drops are generally as effective as shots.

Besides the obvious, what differentiates allergy drops from allergy shots?

By taking drops, patients aren’t required to come to the office for each dose. This helps the patient reduce allergy symptoms typically in one month, rather than over several months.

What’s in the drops?

The drops are designed for spring allergies and are composed of purified proteins from tree pollen.

What types of allergens are the drops most effective against?

Allergy drops can be effective on all types of allergens including spring trees, fall weeds, dust, grasses, mold, and pet dander.

How does the price of drops compare to that of other allergy treatments?

Spring allergy drops are not as costly as year-round drops or shots. Each patient is different. The best way to get an idea of cost is to call The Center for Allergy and Asthma and schedule a consultation.

Where can the drops be purchased?

Spring allergy drops are sold exclusively at The Center for Allergy and Asthma.

What is the best way to find out if I am a candidate for the drops?

Schedule an appointment at The Center for Allergy and Asthma as soon as possible so a plan can be made before spring.

Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia | Eugene Hurwitz, M.D. | 770.459.0620 |

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copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation, photography by Gordon ParksThe High Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “A Fire That No Water Could Put Out: Civil Rights Photography,” showcases over 40 poignant prints depicting the civil rights movement and the important role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played during this time.

Details: 1280 Peachtree St. NE., Atlanta;

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Urban Perform and Mercedes-Benz USAIn underserved communities, it is easy for health issues to run rampant. That’s when Atlanta-based nonprofit Urban Perform steps in. The organization seeks to decrease obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes by helping to increase the activity levels of those who live in areas like the Westside. Urban Perform also provides accessible and affordable safe spaces to exercise and offers eight classes a week. It is in need of certified fitness and wellness instructors to volunteer to teach these group fitness classes. Recently, the Greatness Lives Here campaign by Mercedes-Benz, recognized Laura Pritchard-Compton (pictured in white), Urban Perform’s founder, for making a difference. A short video highlighting the nonprofit can be seen on the Mercedes-Benz USA
Facebook page.

Details: 128 Vine St. NW., Atlanta;

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Garnish and GatherImagine being able to whip up dishes developed by some of Atlanta’s most talented toques. With Garnish & Gather’s Be the Chef program, you can. The meal-kit delivery company, which uses locally sourced and organic groceries, partners with culinarians who offer up their very own fresh recipes for you to make at home. Now through January, look out for recipes from Whiskey Bird and Upbeet.


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Dr. WhitakerDoes facial plastic surgery only help people regain lost youth?

There is a misconception that plastic surgery is about vanity and superficial appearance. It’s more than that. Ultimately, it’s about increasing a person’s self-esteem, confidence, health and success. It’s not necessarily about the physical transformation. It’s more about the difference it makes in somebody’s life.

 What makes people more beautiful?

There is a science behind beauty. Beauty serves an important function. In our primitive brains, beauty is a shortcut to gauge health. It’s also a way to attribute positive qualities to attractiveness. This is a “halo effect,” the idea that one standout beauty trait is reflective of an individual’s overall personality. If we look at pictures of someone who is deemed more attractive, we automatically attribute positive qualities to them and assume that they are more successful. I tend to believe that is where attractiveness matters. Looking your personal best is the most important thing you can do. Not only does it impact how you feel about yourself, but it also impacts your interactions and relationships with others.

 How important are first impressions?

What is really important about a first impression is that it happens at a subconscious level in a matter of seconds. Little things like a warm smile can leave a more positive first impression. Makeup can make you look more youthful and frame the eyes. All of these things can elevate your first impression. To take your first impression to the next level, consider Botox®, injectables, and facial plastic surgery procedures. These options can help you gain confidence, which is a very attractive quality and will ultimately enhance your first impression.

Are people turning to facial plastic surgery procedures so they can look better on social media?

I want everyone that comes into Atlanta Face & Body to look more beautiful in every decade of life. With social media, there is much more awareness of the subtleties of appearance. I see a lot of patients who come in and tell me that they don’t like the way their jaw and neck contouring looks on social media. So, these are not necessarily aging changes, but more their underlying anatomy. There are ways we can contour the jawline and neck with minimally invasive procedures. We can tighten the skin and stimulate skin collagen to create a more smooth and contoured look.

Are men considering facial plastic surgery procedures these days?

I see more and more men than I used to. I think society is more accepting of doing something for yourself and that shows with men. They are more practical. They want to stay competitive both in society and the workplace. Most men are concerned with the neck area and their facial profile. There are a range of procedures that men tend to gravitate toward. Mainly, my male patients look to Botox®, Kybella, injectables, and a range of facial plastic procedures.

 Specials 1

Elizabeth Whitaker, MD, FACS,

Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker received her medical degree from Duke University. She did her residency training at Emory and completed her facial plastic surgery fellowship at Tulane where she trained with Dr. Calvin Johnson, an internationally known facial plastic surgeon. She served as the Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Medical College of Georgia before moving back to Atlanta and into private practice. The seasoned doctor has performed more than 4,000 face-lifts and is one of the most experienced facial plastic surgeons in the field.

Details: Atlanta Face & Body Center, 3200 Cobb Galleria Pkwy #205, Atlanta, GA 30339,, 678.888.3223

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Ponce City Market Gift CardStill need stocking stuffer ideas? Ponce City Market now offers property-wide gift cards. Foodies can treat friends to an Italian meal at Bellina Alimentari and fashionistas can bless their besties with a card to leather goods company, Cobbler Union. Consider holiday shopping done!

Details: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE., Atlanta;

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GiftsAlli Allen, co-founder of Second Helpings Atlanta, has launched a new charitable giving platform named PlanetGive. Whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday, or a wedding registry, online users can create a profile page and list the causes they support. Friends and family can see the profile page and charities the user cares about and make a donation in their honor. Members can even create a Circle of Giving with their comrades. Receive birthday notifications and garner charitable gift ideas with this standout system.


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Barry's BootcampSultry lighting, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, fast-paced pop songs—it’s easy to mistake the new 5,233-square-foot Atlanta location of Barry’s Bootcamp for one of the city’s hottest nightclubs. A reported favorite of Carrie Underwood, each class is divided into spurts of treadmill intervals and resistance training to maximize fat loss. For a tone tush, sign up with Steven Ridges on Tuesdays for a butt-and-legs-focused sweat session.

Details: 305 E. Paces Ferry Rd. NE., Atlanta;

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GIRL, YOU GOT THIS - BluHazlLaticia Rolle is more than just Shaquille O’Neal’s fiancée. The Atlanta-based beauty is an inspirational speaker, blogger, and now author. In partnership with her sister, D’Ana Rolle, the creative forces behind have released their first book, “Girl, You Got This: The Glow Up Guide to Loving Yourself & Your Tribe.” Give it a read for nutritious recipes, exercise ideas, and positive affirmations.


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