GERD-basics

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or (GERD) is a very common disorder that develops when reflux of the stomach causes adverse symptoms.

It is also referred to as Acid Reflux Disease and Gastric Reflux Disease, but more commonly known as Heartburn or Acid Reflux.

Heartburn is actually a well known “symptom” of GERD. It is considered a benign disease that occurs in most individuals.

Most individuals have symptoms more than once a week. Often it is recommended that smoking should be avoided as it can make symptoms worse.

A serious potential complication is that GERD may lead to Barrett’s Esophagus. This is a precursor cell change that may become malignant. The risk is extremely small but is still present.

For those with GERD, Endoscopy may be recommended by your physician every 5 years.

Foods that have been implicated include: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, acidic foods, and spicy foods, some fruits, fruit juices, and more.

Causes:

–  H.pylori
–  Hiatus Hernia
–  Obesity
–  Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
–  Scleroderma
–  Foods
–  Pregnancy
–  Stress
–  Genetics
–  others

Foods can worsen or be categorized as a cause such as:

–  Chocolate
–  Caffeine
–  Alcohol
–  Carbonated Drinks
–  Spicy foods
–  Acidic foods
–  Citric foods
–  Large meals
–  Eating less than 2-3 hours prior to sleeping
–  Many Others

Symptoms

–  Heartburn
–  Hoarseness
–  Nausea
–  Vomiting
–  Cough
–  Pain
–  Chronic Chest pain
–  Difficulty breathing
–  Asthma-like symptoms
–  Regurgitation
–  and others

GERD1Diagnosis

1.)  Endoscopy or camera into the esophagus is helpful in some cases.

2.)  Biopsy is typically done during Endoscopy

3.)  H. pylori has been closely associated – therefore testing for H.pylori is often essential.

Management

1.)  Avoid eating foods that worsen symptoms

2.)  Avoid eating foods late at night.

3.)  Weight loss can help prevent pressure on the stomach from worsening symptoms.

4.)  Moderate exercise may improve symptoms.

5.)  Vigorous exercise can worsen symptoms.

6.)  Smoking can worsen symptoms

7.)  Alcohol consumption can worsen symptoms

8.)  Foods that have been implicated include: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, acidic foods, and spicy foods, some fruits, fruit juices, and more.

9.)  Symptoms can be worse at night

10.)  Use pillow at night to elevate head or chest to avoid acid from going from stomach to esophagus

11.)  Sleep in a reclining chair if symptoms bad enough

12.)  Antacid tabs provide immediate relief.

13.) Eat smaller and more frequent meals

14.)  Avoid large meals

15.)  Some people see temporary relief with food such as milk, water, salt, nuts, and other items.

GERD stomach flamesTreatment

Medications:

1.)  Proton Pump inhibitors

  –  Nexium  (esomepraxole)
  –  Protonix  (pantoprazole)
  –  Prevacid  (lansoprazole)
  –  Prilosec  (omeprazole)
  –  Aciphex  (rabeprazole)

2.)  Histamine (H2) Blockers

  –  Pepcid  (Famotidine)
  –  Tagamet  (Cimetidine)
  –  Zantac  (Ranitidine)

3.)  Antacids OTC  (Over-the-counter)

4.)  Sucralfate (Carafate)

5.)  Alginic acid (Gaviscon)

6.)  Tums

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