Acid Reflux – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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Acid reflux is also known as the Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and is a chronic disease that affects the esophagus. It is caused by an upsurge of stomach liquids that include pepsin, acid and bile to the esophagus thus inflaming it. The most common symptom with this condition is a persistent heartburn. This condition is more prominent when people are sleeping since the gravity is destroyed. Attacks are rare during the day since people are seated or walking upright and the liquids do not get a chance to flow up to the oesophagus.

Night attacks therefore result to severe acid reflux attacks since the acid is in the oesophagus for longer. There are other conditions that make this condition more susceptible to some people than others. Pregnant women have higher levels of acid reflux due to the hormonal elevated levels. This is also occasioned by the increased pressure in the abdomen due to the foetus growth. People with scleroderma will also be more prone to this condition.
Acid reflux is caused by other factors such as emptying of the stomach, hiatal hernias, lower oesophageal contractions and oesophageal contractions.

Some of the main symptoms of acid reflux other than heartburn are nausea and regurgitation. Some of the complications that result from this condition include the formation of ulcers which may be mild but severe as they advance. Many people with ulcers will have to undergo blood transfusions, endoscopiuc procedures and surgical treatment in severe cases. Strictures are other complications that people with this condition may have to deal with. These result from the scars that are left by the inflammation in the oesophagus. Over time, the lumen is narrowed and this results into strictures. Barrets esophagus results from the change in growth of the cells in the esophagus which results into cancerous tumors.

Other patients with acid reflux may suffer from asthma and coughs due to the damages caused to the esophagus. Other resulting complications include the inflammation of the throat and larynx which causes hoarseness and sore throats. The lungs are not spared by this disease and people with this disease will also suffer from an inflammation of the lungs. Fluid retention is experienced in the middle ears and sinuses and this makes them swell. It is easy to diagnose this condition due to its characteristic severe heartburn. People with unexplained heartburns ought to seek a medic’s advice as soon as they can. This condition is also diagnosed through an endoscopy where patients swallow a tube that contains an optical system to analyse the extent of damage to the esophagus.

Biopsies are also conducted on people to affirm if they have acid reflux. They are however not used mostly due to their low efficacy. X-rays may also be used to diagnose this condition as well as the throat and larynx examination, acid perfusion test and gastric emptying. Treatment of this condition is possible and all people need to do is change their lifestyles that include eating. A GERD diet goes a long way in ensuring that people stay away from this disease. The use of antacids, histamine antagonists, proton pum inhibitors, pro-motility drugs, foam barriers and surgery are all used to treat this disease.

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