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Acid Reflux Disease

Acid Reflux goes by many names including heartburn and its medical name Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

If you suffer from Acid Reflux, you are not alone. Some 60 million Americans report symptoms at least once a month.

Acid Reflux occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), which normally closes after food passes through, remains open allowing acids from the stomach to back up into the oesophagus.

Usually, Acid Reflux does not cause major complications but in some cases it can cause scarring of the oesophagus. This scarring can make it difficult to swallow.

Dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your throat, may also occur.

In rare cases, Barrett’s Oesophagus may develop. Due to a constant flow of acid into the oesophagus and the irritation that it causes, cells in the lining of the oesophagus become of abnormal shape and colour. This can develop into cancer.

Diet plays a factor in the Acid Reflux as well. There are foods that are known to make symptoms worse such as citrus fruits, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, fatty or fried foods, garlic, onions and tomatoes. If you have Acid Reflux it is suggested that you avoid these foods in an effort to control the disease.

More than 50% of pregnant women report symptoms of Acid Reflux. In these cases it is caused by an increase in hormones and the pressure of a growing fetus.

Doctors say that after delivery, most report that they are symptom free.

The more common symptoms of Acid Reflux are regurgitation, the sensation of acid backing up in the back of your throat and a sour taste which may sometimes lead to vomiting.

Dyspepsia, a general term for any stomach discomfort, is another symptom. This can manifest itself in many ways such as burping, nausea after eating and even upper abdominal pain or discomfort.

Some who suffer recurring or frequent Acid Reflux symptoms say the worst time is at night when they are laying down. They report that night-time symptoms produce the most pain. It is also important to note that the level of pain does not necessarily indicate the level of damage done to the oesophagus.

Commonly, symptoms are said to occur after eating a heavy meal or bending and picking up objects.

There are many symptoms of this common disease. Some of these symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack. If you have any doubt as to what is causing your symptoms you should call the emergency services immediately. Doctors say it is better to come in with Acid Reflux than not to come in with a heart attack.

It is recommended that if you have symptoms that are not relieved by standard over the counter antacids or recur more than twice a week for two weeks, you consult your doctor.

Doctors also suggest that if you have asthma like symptoms such as wheezing, chronic sore throat and nausea that lasts for weeks or months at a time, you need to see your physician.

Acid Reflux, though common and usually not life threatening, can lead to other more serious medical conditions. It is always best to consult a doctor if you have any questions.

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