Acid Reflux Disease - Commonly Asked Questions
What is Acid Reflux?
When the valve found at the lower end of the esophagus is dysfunctional, it allows the acidic content of the stomach to be regurgitated. ou know what heartburn is or you know someone who has experienced heartburn. Heartburn is where your body causes the contents of the stomach to flow back up into the esophagus. one point or other in our lives we have all experienced some form of heartburn. The effects of heartburn may be mild or frequent and painful, but they are symptoms that we can ease.
What is Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD or Acid reflux describes a backflow of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube or esophagus. This acid can irritate and sometimes damage the lining on the inside of the esophagus. Almost everyone experiences acid reflux at some time. The usual symptom is heartburn, an uncomfortable burning sensation behind the breastbone, most commonly occurring after a meal. In some individuals this reflux is frequent or severe enough to cause more significant problems.
How many people have Acid Reflux Disease?
Recent statistics indicate that about fifteen (15) million people in the US alone suffer from Acid Reflux Disease.
What are some symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease?
Heartburn is the most common symptom of Acid Reflux Disease. In some patients it may be accompanied by other Acid Reflux Disease symptoms, such as regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth and difficulty swallowing.
Who may get Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid Reflux Disease affects people of every socioeconomic class, ethnic group and age. However, the incidence does seem to increase quite dramatically above the age of 40. More than 50 percent of people (both male and female) with Acid Reflux Disease are between the ages of 45 to 64.
Can acid reflux disease be cured?
Unfortunately, acid reflux disease, in general, cannot be cured at present. In some cases, it may be a temporary condition associated with a specific aggravating factor such as pregnancy. In such cases, acid reflux disease will go away on its own when the pregnancy has ended. In most cases acid reflux disease is a chronic condition. However, it can be effectively managed with medications and lifestyle modifications in almost everybody. In some cases, surgery is an option.
What about acid reflux disease and smoking?
Smoking doesn't cause acid reflux disease but there is some evidence that smoking significantly worsens acid reflux disease. Nicotine is a risk factor for relaxation of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and may cause increased heartburn. Stopping smoking is a good idea for multiple reasons.