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Even if you have never suffered from acid reflux disease (sometimes known by its scientific name of gastroespohageal reflux disease or GERD) you likely don’t like the sound of the disease. For one, it makes food less enjoyable! And if the obesity epidemic scientists are always warning Americans about is real, then Americans love to be able to enjoy their food! But commercials and public service announcements about acid reflux disease show that sufferers have to deal with a whole host of symptoms that make eating less enjoyable – and often – less permanent. And of course, when people with impairments – such as the elderly and infirm – suffer from acid reflux disease and are unable to eat, they can face complications related to the inability to get all their necessary nutrients. Luckily, medical science has focused its attention on acid reflux treatment and there are many medicines and treatments out there so that people suffering from acid reflux will soon be able to enjoy a hearty (and hopefully, healthy) meal again.
Acid reflux disease is a condition where changes in the barrier between the esophagus and stomach cause damage to the mucosal lining in the esophagus, leading to abnormal reflux. This can be caused by several factors, including a hiatal hernia. So if you are suffering from acid reflux, don’t just take over the counter medications – head to you primary care physician’s office and make sure that you are not suffering from something more serious than acid reflux.
So how do you know if you have acid reflux disease? The most common symptoms of acid reflux disease are heartburn, regurgitation of food, and trouble swallowing. Because these symptoms occur alongside something we do every day, eating, they usually become noticeable pretty quickly. Of course, there are other – thankfully less common – symptoms associated with acid reflux disease. They include pain while swallowing, excessive saliva in the mouth, nausea and even chest pain. We have all heard the old story about the man who did not go to the doctor for his heart attack because he confused the chest pain with heartburn. Acid reflux disease is perhaps one of the reasons why that sad accident occurred. If untreated, acid reflux disease can even cause injuries to the esophagus. A cough, laryngitis (characterized by a hoarse voice or constant throat clearing), asthma, dental enamel erosion, sensitive teeth and sinusitis may also be secondary symptoms that can point to acid reflux disease as their source.
So what types of acid reflux treatment are out there to stop this torment? Doctors speak of three classifications of acid reflux treatment – lifestyle change, medication and surgery. Lifestyle change is, of course, the least invasive type of acid reflux treatment. Lifestyle changes good for acid reflux treatment can include things such as losing weight, elevating the head of the bed at night, and avoiding eating two hours before bedtime. Acid reflux sufferers are also encourage to avoid coffee and alcohol, which may actually cause reflux. If you suffer from acid reflux, your doctor may provide you with a lengthy list of foods (such as acidic fruits) and behaviors (such as smoking) to avoid as part of your acid reflux treatment.
As far as surgeries go, the two most common acid reflux treatments are surgery to repair a hiatal hernia that may be causing acid reflux, and surgery to repair the faulty barrier between the stomach and esophagus. In many cases, doctors may recommend a medication regimen instead of surgery, which is invasive and carries the risk of complications.
Are you suffering from acid reflux? Contact your primary care physician immediately. You do not have to live your life suffering every time you eat.