Understanding GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is sometimes simply referred to as “reflux.” For those who suffer from this ailment, though, it’s not so simple. Those who have GERD often describe it “like a burning sensation, worse than heartburn, in chest.”
The condition involves acid from the stomach entering the esophagus.
The good news: there is an increasing number of safe remedies available.
The bad news: ignoring this condition may make it worse. Almost everyone experiences gastroesophageal reflux at some time. It’s a real disease and a real problem for millions of sufferers.
If you’ve never facing heartburn, count yourself among the luckiest of eaters. Most of us, however, have occasionally overdone it with the pizza or other spicy, greasy food, and paid the price: that burning feeling in your chest after you’ve eaten.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, known as GERD, is more than ordinary heartburn. It occurs when an individual suffers repeatedly from stomach acid entering the esophagus. The acid may irritate or even damage the inside of the esophagus
What is GERD?
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is another name for acid reflux disease. Where you have symptoms of heartburn for more than two days a week for over three months.
This acid that is normally in the stomach is the same acidity as battery acid. It’s meant to be kept in the stomach to break down food and not in the esophagus. When stomach acid rises into the esophagus. It will begin to breakdown the lining and can cause trouble later on.
GERD is an ongoing chronic condition and while it isn’t very serious as a singular illness. It may lead to more serious conditions over time. It is estimated that over 19 million people have GERD, or acid reflux disease. Makeover 4.6 million visits to a doctor or clinic over the symptoms of the disease.
What are the symptoms of GERD?
GERD lead to cough and hoarseness, as well as severe pain. The burning may be so severe that patients can think they are having a heart attack. Other symptoms include difficulty in swallowing and/or a sore throat.
In some cases, the acid may rise to the mouth, resulting in harm to the enamel of the teeth. Although GERD is more common in adults over age 40, it can impact children.
- Frequent heartburn, two or more times per week.
- No heart burn, but frequent dry cough or asthma like symptoms.
- Difficult or painful swallowing.
Although the ailment does not have the same triggers in all individuals, common culprits include spicy foods, citrus foods, tomatoes and tomato products, chocolate, peppermint, coffee, and chocolate. Excessively large meals can cause GERD to worsen, and lying down right after eating also can make symptoms more painful.
How to Prevent GERD ?
Is GERD preventable?
Many individuals find relief from GERD with a few simple lifestyle changes.
- Use a bed wedge to raise the head of your bed 6″ to 8″.
- Avoid fatty and/or spicy foods.
- Avoid eating before bed. Many doctors recommend at least two hours.
- Lose weight, even just a few pounds can make a huge difference.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol, tea, and coffee intake.
- Quit smoking.
- Take all medications with full glass to help prevent heartburn.
If your GERD symptoms persist or worsen even with lifestyle changes. You should consult with your doctor. Your doctor may schedule additional tests to be sure your GERD is not a symptom of a more serious condition.
Consult Your Doctor
If you think that you have GERD. The first step in ending your pain is to visit your doctor. Before your visit, how frequently you experience heartburn?
What triggers GERD? If any, you have observed.
For example, if you notice that you experience severe heartburn after eating citrus foods, include that in your food journal. Such information will be useful to your physician. Depending on the results of the doctor’s examination.
You may be given a prescription or recommendation for an over-the-counter remedy. Your physician may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as staying upright for several hours after a meal and/or raising the head of your bed.
It’s just heartburn, so what’s the big deal?
Heartburn and GERD can lead to a narrowed esophagus making it diffcult to eat and swallow. Even worse untreated GERD can lead to esophageal cancer. A painful and often fatal form of cancer.
All symptoms should be taken seriously. All prescribed medicines should be used as directed help keep your body healthy and functioning properly. A diet high in fiber and proper hydration will also prevent and limit heartburn and GERD.