What is Acid Reflux? (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) happens when your stomach contents come back up into your esophagus. Stomach acid that touches the lining of your esophagus can cause heartburn, also called acid indigestion.
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Do you suffer from Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux can have a profound effect on your daily life. From the foods, you can or can not eat, the way you sleep, or general burning and discomfort throughout the day.
What is GERD?
What is the difference between GER and GERD?
How common is GERD?
GERD is a gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious and long-lasting form of GER.
GERD affects about 20 percent of the U.S. population.
Who is More Likely to have GERD?
Anyone can develop GERD, some for unknown reasons. You are more likely to have GERD if you are
Risks of Acid Reflux (GERD)
Without treatment, GERD can sometimes cause serious complications over time, such as:
Esophagitis is inflammation in the esophagus. Adults who have chronic esophagitis over many years are more likely to develop precancerous changes in the esophagus.
An esophageal stricture happens when your esophagus becomes too narrow. Esophageal strictures can lead to problems with swallowing in food passage.
GERD can sometimes cause Barrett’s esophagus. A small number of people with Barrett’s esophagus develop a rare yet often deadly type of cancer of the esophagus.
With GERD you might breathe stomach acid into your lungs. The stomach acid can then irritate your throat and lungs, causing respiratory problems, such as:
- A dry, long-lasting cough or a sore throat.
- Hoarseness – the partial loss of your voice.
- Chest congestion, or extra fluid in your lungs.
- Wheezing – a high-pitched whistling sound when you breathe.
- Pneumonia – an infection in one or both of your lungs that keeps coming back.
- Laryngitis – the swelling of your voice box that can lead to a short-term loss of your voice.
- Asthma – a long-lasting disease in your lungs that makes you extra sensitive to things that you’re allergic to.
If you have GERD, talk with your doctor about how to prevent or treat long-term problems.
What are the Symptoms of GER and GERD?
If you have gastroesophageal reflux (GER), you may taste food or stomach acid in the back of your mouth.
The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is regular heartburn, a painful, burning feeling in the middle of your chest, behind your breastbone, and in the middle of your abdomen. Not all adults with GERD have heartburn.
Other common GERD Symptoms include:
- The wearing away of your teeth.
- Problems swallowing or painful swallowing.
- Bad breath.
- Respiratory problems.
- Pain in your chest or the upper part of your abdomen.
Risks of Acid Reflux (GERD)
GER and GERD happen when your lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t, causing stomach contents to rise up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes due to certain things, such as:
Increased pressure on your abdomen from being higher weight, or pregnant certain medicines, including:
- Smoking, or inhaling secondhand smoke.
- Sedatives – medicines that help put you to sleep.
- Antidepressants —medicines that treat depression.
- Antihistamines – medicines that treat allergy symptoms.
- Calcium channel blockers – medicines that treat high blood pressure.
- Those that doctors use to treat asthma. A long-lasting disease in your lungs that makes you extra sensitive to things that you are allergic to.
- A hiatal hernia can also cause GERD. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the opening in your diaphragm lets the upper part of the stomach move up into your chest, which lowers the pressure in the esophageal sphincter.
When should I seek a Doctor’s Help?
Call a doctor right away if you:
- Vomit in large amounts.
- Have problems breathing after vomiting.
- Have a regular projectile, or forceful, vomiting.
- Have pain in the mouth or throat when you eat.
- Have problems swallowing or painful swallowing.
- Vomit fluid that is( green or yellow, looks like coffee grounds, and contains blood).
How do doctors diagnose GER/GERD?
In most cases, your doctor diagnoses gastroesophageal reflux (GER) by reviewing your symptoms and medical history. If your symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle changes and medications, you may need testing.
If your GER symptoms don’t improve, if they come back frequently, or if you have trouble swallowing, your doctor may recommend testing you for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What tests do Doctors use to diagnose GERD?
Several tests can help a doctor diagnose GERD. Your doctor may order more than one test to make a diagnosis.