Good health is a boon to your body. It helps you physically and mentally. Good health can be maintained by doing regular exercise and maintaining a well-balanced diet. Many different digestive problems seem minor but lead to critical health issues. One such common digestive problem is acid reflux, known scientifically as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
This condition is characterized by affecting the lower esophageal sphincter (which is the ring of muscles between the esophagus & stomach) & causes it to become weaker than normal, or relax inappropriately. This results in food acid flowing from the stomach back into the esophagus, which does not contain acid normally. This1 acid flow is called reflux.
About 10-20% of people in western countries suffer from GERD symptoms on weekly basis. About 7% have symptoms daily. The reported prevalence of GERD is 22-24% in Pakistan. It is most common in those people who are older than 40.
GERD influences the general health daily & social functioning, physical & emotional activities. It strongly affects the health-related quality of life with frequent interruptions during sleep, work, and social activities. GERD refers to instances where acid reflux happens more than twice a week.
The severity of the disease depends on the extent of LOS dysfunction, the type and quantity of acidic fluid that comes up from the stomach and it also neutralizes the effect of saliva. Doctors think that some people may have it because of a condition called a Hiatal hernia. It occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm.
The treatment goals in acid reflux are to reduce irritation and decrease reflux and these could be achieved by changing lifestyle and diet. In addition to avoiding dietary trigger, doctors may recommend several lifestyle changes that you can make to alleviate GERD symptoms by doing such things as; avoiding lying down for at least 2 hours after the meal, eat smaller and more frequent meals each day instead of a few larger meals, wear loose-fitting clothes to ease pressure on the stomach, quit smoking, reduce excess weight, etc into the chest.)
Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest, which can radiate up to the neck. This feeling is often known as heartburn. Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. Sometimes people mistake heartburn pain for heart disease or heart attack but they are different. Heart disease pain may get worse by doing exercise and rest may relieve it but heartburn pain is likely to go with physical activities.
Besides pain, many people experience that food is coming back into the mouth, leaving an acidic or bitter taste. The others symptoms of GERD are nausea, bad breath, hard time swallowing, lump in the throat, water brash ( hypersalivation), gas, regurgitation, dental erosion, asthma.
Some conditions that increase the risk of GERD like obesity, bulging on the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm, pregnancy, delayed stomach emptying, smoking, eating larger meals, eating meals at late night, eating spicy & fried foods, drinking alcohol or coffee, taking medications such as aspirin.