Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a chronic digestive disease. It is a condition in which the acidified liquid content of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. It may damage the lining of the esophagus, thereby causing inflammation.
What are the effects of GERD?
The initial symptom of GERD is heartburn that occurs at least twice a week. A person feels the burning pain behind your breast bone and in your upper abdomen. It can be a result of stomach acid spilling out of the stomach into the esophagus.
Other initial symptoms are :-
- Dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Asthma like symptoms
If left untreated, GERD can lead to esophagitis inflammation of the esophagus. The stomach acid becomes very irritating to the esophagus and can cause long term damage. It can be transformed into painful ulcer in the later stage.
Other symptoms includes :-
- Bleeding of esophagus
- Dark color stools
- Narrowing of the esophagus
- Difficulty in swallowing
When does it turn into an emergency?
Untreated acid reflux or GERD can lead to various complications over the time. Call the doctor immediately if a person experiences the following :-
- Choking or difficulty in swallowing
- Trouble in breathing, which indicated serious heart or lung problem
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Weakness, dizziness, and confusion
- Uncontrollable weight loss
What are the preventive measures?
If you are diagnosed with GERD, your doctor may ask you ssto :-
- Stop smoking
- Cut down alcohol
- Lose weight if obese
- Eat smaller meals
- Eat low-fat meals
- Don’t eat when about to sleep
Over the counter, treatments are for temporary relief which includes antacids and OTC medicines for gas, bloating and pain. Contact your doctor immediately if the issue persists and the there isn’t any relief with the OTC drugs. It is advisable to ask the doctor before taking any medications, it could also aggravate the problem in some cases.
Talk to your medical practitioner about any issues related to the stomach and stay healthy!