After a nice spicy meal some people experience acid reflux, which is generally categorized as a burning feeling in the chest and stomach. On the other hand, statistics show that 60 million Americans suffer from acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Symptoms can vary from mild to moderate, or severe. Depending on the severity, the use of daily medication may or may not control symptoms.
The experts at Digestive Care Physicians pride themselves on diagnosis, treatment, quality of care, symptom relief, and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stop suffering and be proactive about acid reflux!
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is essentially the result of stomach acid and sometimes bile, refluxing or “flowing back” into the esophagus and mouth. The valve between the esophagus and stomach is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a band of muscles that contract and relax to form a protective barrier. When the LES becomes weak or does not close properly, acid reflux can occur.
Types of Acid Reflux
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GERD has been defined as a chronic condition that develops when gastric contents in the stomach reflux back into the esophagus in causing typical symptoms of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation. This reflux may appear with or without mucosal erosions and/or relevant complications.
- Non-Erosive Reflux Disease (NERD): NERD is a subcategory of GERD characterized by reflux-related symptoms in the absence of esophageal erosions/breaks as seen on conventional endoscopy.
- Extra Esophageal Reflux (EER): When GERD manifests itself atypically as respiratory, laryngopharyngeal (LPR), nasopharyngeal, cardiac or silent. Symptoms include:
- Laryngitis, chronic cough
- Bronchitis, or asthma
- Recurrent pneumonia
- Sleep apnea
- Acid erosion of teeth
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
- Barrett’s Esophagus (BE): Barrett’s Esophagus is thought to be a result of chronic GERD and is a coexisting condition associated with reflux that may be found anywhere within the body of the esophagus, but is usually in the lower portion of the esophagus near the EG junction. BE usually develops as a result of mucosal destruction and tissue transformation associated with acid or bile damage to the esophageal tissue. Left untreated, or if unrecognized, Barrett’s can be associated with the development of esophageal cancer.
To ease the symptoms of acid reflux, the team at Digestive Care Physicians suggests the following lifestyle changes:
- Avoid trigger foods and beverages
- Do not eat prior to bed time
- Eat slowly
- Do not overeat
- Do not smoke
- Lose weight
- Elevate the head of your bed
Diagnosing Acid Reflux
To properly diagnose and treat acid reflux or GERD symptoms, board certified physicians Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, and providers Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN; may require non-surgical testing. The most common procedures performed are:
Note – The information in this article cannot replace professional medical care. Be proactive about acid reflux by seeing a doctor at Digestive Care Physicians.
Quench the burn of acid reflux, and protect your GI health! Don’t ignore acid reflux or try to placate severe illness with medication. Call us at (770) 227-2222 to schedule a prompt appointment. To see a doctor in our Lawrenceville office, please call (470) 210-7766.