Acid reflux is a disease that afflicts many people each and every day. They live with the discomfort and constant round of medications. That burning, heavy sensation in the throat and chest can make anyone feel less than their best.
Many people are unclear as to why it is afflicting them or even if they have such a disease. Many patients suffer for years with it, thinking they only have indigestion or heart burn. In this article we will discuss some of the more common questions dealing with acid reflux.
How do I know if I have it?
The only way to know if you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), otherwise known as acid reflux, is by seeing a health professional. Your family physician will assess your condition and will most likely refer you to a gastroenterologist for further diagnosis. The gastroenterologist will place a catheter into your esophagus and measure the amount of acid and bile coming into your esophagus and then determine if you truly have acid reflux disease.
Can anyone, regardless of age, have acid reflux?
It is not picky about the age, ethnicity or religious viewpoint. It can strike anyone at any age. There are factors that can increase your likelihood of developing it. It is important that if you are suffering from repeat attacks of heartburn or indigestion to seek out the advice of your physician.
How is it treated in adults?
The first step in treatment is sleeping position. Gravity can be your friend or your foe. By sleeping at an incline, the acid can flow back down the esophageal tube. The next step is to change the size of your meal.
The larger your stomach distends to make room for food, the less room there is for the digestive fluids. Eat smaller portions and this will help alleviate the symptoms. Also look at your diet. Some foods are known to promote reflux. You should avoid ingesting peppermint, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine.
If you have followed these recommendations and are still having acid reflux then the doctor may have you take medicine specifically designed for treating it. One thing you should remember is this: there is no cure for it and you will always have to battle flare-ups. In the case of reflux in which nothing seems to be working, the doctor may have to operate.
Does smoking and being overweight affect acid reflux?
Smoking is detrimental to your health. It damages every single system in the body. The irritation from smoke breaks down the delicate tissues of your throat. When the acid pushes its way up it will come in contact with these places thus irritating and eroding the lining further.
Being overweight is similar to smoking in that it affects every system of your body. With acid reflux it is a pressure game. The more pressure put onto the stomach, either internal or external, the less room there is for the acid and bile.
Fatty deposits, such as those found in the bulk surrounding the waist, put pressure onto the stomach. Losing weight is a great way to help ease the flare ups of it.
What are the long term effects of acid reflux if it is not controlled?
Uncontrolled acid reflux can be deadly. It may be hard to fathom heartburn or indigestion actually killing you but it certainly can. Untreated or uncontrolled of it can cause the throat to become narrower, ulcers and even cancer.
It can also keep the throat irritated and contribute to asthma and coughing. Your respiratory system can suffer as well with the liquid reflux going down into the lungs causing choking, inflammation and infection. It is not something that can go ignored for long. If you suffer from acid reflux it is important to stay abreast of treatment methods.