Gastroesophageal reflux disease: more than just heartburn
Filed in: Diseases.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when fluids and foods that must naturally reach the stomach return to the esophagus. When this happens, fluids, food, and stomach acid can irritate the throat.
Many people have shown or will experience heartburn during their life. Although it is uncomfortable, heartburn is not usually a serious health problem in most people. However, if heartburn occurs frequently and is persistent, it can be a sign of a more serious medical problem, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic disorder that involves the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. If left untreated, it can cause several complications, such as esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, chronic lung disease, and Barrett's esophagus (a change in the lining of the esophagus that increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer).
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Other less common symptoms of GERD include:
Sore throat Hoarseness especially in the morning Cough Respiratory problems such as asthma Bad breath
Report these symptoms to your doctor, it is necessary to diagnose the disease. The specialist may consider special tests, such as endoscopy or gastric pH monitoring, to determine the severity of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment.
Although the causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease are not always known, certain risk factors increase the likelihood that a person will develop this condition. However, just because a person is exposing themselves to these risk factors does not mean that they will automatically suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Here are some of the risk factors:
– Hiatal hernia. The esophagus passes through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus, which helps close the lower esophageal sphincter. Hiatus hernia occurs when a small portion of the stomach and sphincter are pushed through the thoracic cavity of the hiatus. This can cause weakening of the sphincter and will not be able to block acid reflux effectively.
– Homework. Many women develop GERD during pregnancy. Almost half of pregnant women experience heartburn at some time, and up to 25% of them suffer from heartburn on a daily basis.
Some doctors believe that this is because, when the fetus grows, it puts pressure on the stomach and pushes it towards the diaphragm. This increased pressure on the stomach can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to open, even when it is not necessary. Therefore, acid reflux occurs. In addition, normal hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can weaken the sphincter, another factor that can trigger gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Certain foods may increase the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux or worsen the symptoms of this condition. Among these are:
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