Is Gerd Dangerous Or Life
GERD isnt life-threatening or dangerous in itself. But long-term GERD can lead to more serious health problems:
- Esophagitis: Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the stomach acid causes in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in your esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and trouble swallowing.
- Barrett’s esophagus: Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that develops in some people who have long-term GERD. The damage acid reflux can cause over years can change the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.
- Esophageal cancer: Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two major types. Adenocarcinoma usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. This type can develop from Barretts esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
- Strictures: Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, causing narrowing of the esophagus. These strictures can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach.
Gerd: Natural Approaches That Address Causation Are Best
You always want to address the levels of causation, not only the symptoms. Symptom treatment, especially for GERD can have serious consequences. This is especially true of acid blocking drugs, which the literature shows can have very serious effects on nutrient and mineral status, as well as increasing the risk of certain infections.
Always seek to find the most intelligently-placed strategies. This offers the greatest chance for success.
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What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn describes a feeling of burning, pain, or discomfort in the chest that can be quite uncomfortable. You also may a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth, and it usually occurs after you eat a big meal or when you lay down.
Not everyone with GERD will experience heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux include regurgitation of acid into the throat or mouth, a bitter taste in the mouth, upset stomach, belching, nausea after eating, feeling full, stomach and upper abdomen bloating, dry cough, wheezing, hoarseness, feeling of tightness in the throat, and in some people, vomiting.
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What Is Your Suggestion For People Who Want To Get Off Otc Or Prescription Acid Blockers
Dont try to do it on your own. It can be very frustrating if youre only addressing the symptoms without understanding the causesand there are usually several. Schedule an appointment with a naturopathic doctor or other integrated health care practitioner to guide you through the process.
And go very slowly. As you begin to reduce acid blockers, your stomach will start producing acid, and sometimes your symptoms will return with a vengeance. It is essential during this time to use stomach-soothing herbs and nutrients, and to treat the cause of stomach acid imbalance, as discussed above.
Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women
Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.
Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.
Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.
Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.
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Is Too Much Stomach Acid Really The Cause Of Acid Reflux
If you ask the average person on the street or even most doctors what causes acid reflux? The most common answer will be too much stomach acid. Yet reflux rarely occurs in children and usually does not start occurring in adults until their 30s and 40s and becomes more common in the elderly.
While reflux gets worse with age, it is also a well known physiological fact that as people get older, and especially over the age of 60, stomach acid levels decline . So if reflux was caused by too much stomach acid it would make sense that it would affect more children and teenagers than the elderly!
The scientific research clearly shows that high stomach acid, or an overproduction of stomach acid is not the cause of reflux. Even low levels of stomach acid can cause reflux, you dont need much acid in the esophagus to cause that burning sensation.
The idea that too much stomach acid is the cause of reflux is a very profitable one for the pharmaceutical companies as the drugs like Pariet, Losec and Nexium are all amongst the top-selling drugs, second only to Lipitor to treat high cholesterol . Because the PPI drugs dont treat the cause people are often given lifelong prescriptions for these medications, even though in the patient handout that comes with the drugs warns that this should only be used short-term .
Dr. Jonathon Wright M.D who has done many years of research into the drugs that treat reflux had this to say in his book Why Stomach Acid is Good For You.
Reason For Heartburn #1 Obesity
The primary reason for the number of heartburn and GERD cases exploding in the last 20 years is due to the growth in obesity. Out of all the lifestyle factors linked to heartburn, obesity has by far and away from the most vital link between acid reflux and heartburn.
Obesity causes more than just heart problems as it is one of the significant heartburn causes. If you are overweight and you are getting acid reflux, that might be your bodyâs way of telling you it is time to lose weight.
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Otc Remedies For Acid Reflux
For people who experience heartburn or indigestion infrequently, perhaps in association with occasional food and drink triggers, OTC treatments to reduce the acidity of the stomach contents are available.
These liquid and tablet formulations are called antacids, and there are dozens of brands available, all with similar effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, and any need for regular use should be discussed with a doctor.
Antacids provide rapid but short-term relief by reducing the acidity of the stomach contents.
Reasons For Heartburn Conclusion
There are a lot of reasons why people get acid reflux, but this top 4 list covers the usual suspects. You can reduce heartburn significantly just by losing weight , getting your diet and vices under control, and paying attention to any sudden changes in your health. See a doctor if you get acid reflux two times per week or more.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Gerd
Heartburn, which involves a painful burning sensation in the chest, is the most common symptom of GERD, but not all cases of GERD involve heartburn.
Another common symptom of GERD is regurgitation, which means a small amount of stomach acid and sometimes bits of food come up into the mouth or back of the throat.
When leaks of stomach acid rise to the mouth and throat, it can cause coughing and a feeling of choking. It may cause a sore throat, including a hoarse voice. Some patients experience difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, or the feeling of something blocking their throat.
On top of the discomfort from heartburn, GERD can cause radiating chest pain that can affect the neck, back, jaw, or arms and last for minutes to hours. This symptom is frequently associated with nighttime awakenings for people with GERD.
Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages
Patients with GERD are sometimes advised to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.
One observational study found that carbonated soft drinks were associated with increased acid reflux symptoms .
Also, controlled studies show that drinking carbonated water or cola temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, compared to drinking plain water .
The main reason is the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages, which causes people to belch more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .
Carbonated beverages temporarily increase the frequency of belching, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.
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Other Symptoms Of Gord
GORD can also cause other problems such as:
- feeling or being sick
- laryngitis which causes throat pain and hoarseness
- bad breath
- bloating and belching
Some people may also find swallowing painful. This is caused by ulcers in the oesophagus and can happen with hot or cold solids or liquids.
Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.
Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis
- Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
- Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
- A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
- Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
- Severe chest pain develops in some cases .
What Causes Heartburn
A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus normally prevents foods and acid from backing up. This muscle acts like a tight drawstring to close off the opening between the esophagus and stomach when a person is not eating.
Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close all the way.
Why doesn’t the lower esophageal sphincterclose all the way?
Many different things loosen the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Certain foods and drinks loosen the lower esophageal sphincter. These include chocolate, peppermint, caffeine-containing beverages , fatty foods, and alcohol.
- The body’s position affects the lower esophageal sphincter. It is easier for stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus if a person is lying down or bending over.
- Anything that increases the pressure on the stomach can force stomach acid backward and cause heartburn. Lifting, straining, coughing, tight clothing, obesity, and pregnancy can worsen heartburn.
- Certain medical conditions increase a person’s chance of suffering from heartburn. A hiatal hernia, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases are linked to heartburn.
- Many prescription medications can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, including certain blood pressure and heart medications and the asthma drug theophylline.
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How Is Gord Managed
Making changes to your lifestyle are essential to manage and prevent GORD symptoms. They include:
- avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms, such as fatty foods, chocolate, spicy foods and coffee
- losing weight, if you are overweight or obese even a small amount of weight loss can help your symptoms
- cutting back on alcohol
- stopping smoking, because tobacco smoke can irritate your digestive system and make your symptoms worse
- eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of 3 large meals each day
- eating your evening meal 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed
- raising the head of your bed if your symptoms are worse at night, and avoiding lying down after eating
- asking your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to make sure they are not making your symptoms worse
How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
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How Can You Tell If Acid Reflux Has Caused Permanent Damage
The burning sensation caused by stomach acid happens when it coats and inflames the walls of the oesophagus.
Usually, it appears after eating, and severity depends on how much acid flows back out and how high it rises.
People will experience one or more of five symptoms.
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Potential GERD complications include:
- A narrowing oesophagus
- Dental disease
- Asthma flare-ups
When Should I See My Doctor
If you experience symptoms such as heartburn once or twice a month, then you probably dont need to see your doctor. You should be able to manage the symptoms yourself with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines.
You should see your doctor if you:
- have chest pain
- have frequent and severe symptoms and are using over-the-counter medications on a daily or weekly basis
- have symptoms not fully relieved by over the counter medications or a change in your lifestyle
- find it difficult or painful to swallow
- are losing weight
- have repeated vomiting or are vomiting blood
- are taking medicines that may be causing heartburn such as aspirin or arthritis tablets
- find exercise exacerbates your symptoms
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Foods That Can Cause Heartburn
Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month .
It is best described as a painful, burning sensation that occurs in the lower chest area.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid escapes into the esophagus, the tube that delivers food and beverages to your stomach.
Normally, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus because of a barrier called the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a ring-like muscle that naturally stays closed, and normally only opens when you swallow or belch .
However, in people with acid reflux, this muscle is often weakened. This is one reason why people with acid reflux experience heartburn .
Diet plays an important role in heartburn. Many foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows food to escape into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Here are 11 foods that can cause heartburn.
Medical Treatments For Gerd
Medications are available with and without a prescription for acid reflux and GERD.
Antacids: First-line treatments for acid reflux are usually antacids. These medicines act quickly to reduce the effect of stomach acid, which can relieve symptoms. Examples of these medicines are Tums and Rolaids.
If these medicines dont relieve acid reflux or a person has GERD, other treatments can include:
H2 blockers: H2 blockers are designed to reduce the amount of acid a persons stomach produces. Sometimes taking these medicines with antacids can help. Examples of these medicines include cimetidine and famotidine .
Proton pump inhibitors: These medications work longer than H2 blockers to reduce acid in the stomach. They can also help heal the stomach lining. Examples include:
Prokinetics: These are medications like metoclopramide . There is controversy as to whether these medications benefit people with GERD. Many new prokinetics have been removed from the market due to serious side effects .
If medications dont reduce a persons acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES.
- difficulty breathing
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