Battling GERD

When my mom used to get indigestion I used to think “What’s the big deal?”

Now, having suffered with something like severe indigestion I have a new appreciation for what she went through.

I have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and have had for the past 12 �½ years.

Things I used to enjoy eating or drinking I can no longer partake in like chili, tangerines, and other favorites.

I have to take a pill twice a day, now 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner, a new development.

GERD is a backflow of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube or esophagus. It’s not a new disease.

Some of the symptoms include: heartburn, regurgitation of gastric acid or sour contents into the stomach, difficult and/or painful swallowing, and chest pain.

Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. I used to be able to take Rolaids, Zantac, Tagomet, and other over-the-counter meds like Tums and Maalox. But those all quit working eventually.

In addition, acid can be transferred into the lungs in some GERD patients causing wheezing or cough which what happened to me, an asthmatic.

A year or so ago I went through a GERD research study and after a scope the doctor told me there were significant erosions in my esophagus.

GERD is caused by reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that about seven million people in the U.S. alone suffer from GERD.

The one pill I do take that works – Prilosec over the counter is sold out a lot so I wind up having to go to more than one store sometimes.

GERD afflicts people of every socioeconomic class, ethnic group, and age. Children can even have it.

The difference between GERD and GORD is just the difference in the British spelling of the esophagus.

The difference between GERD and heartburn is that GERD is a disease and heartburn is its most common symptom.

An endoscopy is a diagnostic test where a thin, flexible tube is swallowed by the patient (like the scope I had) to allow the doctor to directly inspect the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Only a minority of patents develop complications of GERD.

The major factor making GERD worse is meals, particularly eating late at night and/or eating heavy foods. Spicy foods do not cause GERD, although they do seem to worsen GERD symptoms in some people.

Some medications make GERD worse.

Long-standing GERD can cause damage to the esophagus.

Many investigators believe that there is a link between asthma and reflux of stomach acid up into the throat and then down the lungs in some patients.

In some patients acid can reflux into the throat causing inflammation of the back of the throat which can lead to pharyngitis or into the vocal cords causing laryngitis and hoarseness.

Unfortunately, GERD in general cannot be cured right now.

If you think you have GERD you should see your doctor.

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