What Is Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid Reflux Disease, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, is a very common chronic problem where gastric acids reflux into the esophagus. This reflux is due to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). As a result, the patient suffers from painful and uncomfortable symptoms that can lead to serious conditions such as respiratory infections, ulcers, and even esophageal cancer. Even though there are no known causes for acid reflux, it is found that several contributing factors may weaken or relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Among those are:
* The use of alcohol or cigarettes
* Medications such as antihistamines, nitrates, Tedral, Hydrophed, Marax, Bronchial or Quibron
* Eating large meals or soon before bedtime
* Other medical conditions such as pregnancy, rapid weight gain, Hiatal hernia or diabetes
* A diet consisting of fried or fatty foods, garlic and onions and chocolate, citrus foods, tomatoes, spicy foods and mint flavorings as well as beverages containing caffeine.
How Do I Know That I Have Acid Reflux Disease?
The most common symptom of Acid Reflux Disease is persistent heartburn. Heartburn is a burning sensation that you might experience that radiates from the stomach to the chest and throat. This symptom is experienced in connection with lying down on your back or on your right side, lifting, after a large meal and bending over. Other symptoms of reflux include:
* Regurgitation of acid into the throat while bending over or sleeping
* Difficulty swallowing
* Asthma, hoarseness and dental erosion due to the acidic juices making their way to the throat and mouth as well as the air passages into the lungs
* Chest Pain
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux In Children?
Symptoms of Reflux in newborns and young infants are more obvious than those in older infants and children because they are more likely to spit up or vomit the acid coming up. In older infants and children, the symptoms are more subtle. They suffer the same symptoms as adults; however, they have other symptoms that include:
* Loss of appetite
* Weight loss
* Posturing episodes that are often mistaken for seizures
* A chronic cough or recurrent pneumonia
* Recurrent abdominal pain
* Failure to thrive
* Infant arching his or her back while feeding
Many people can relieve their reflux symptoms with simple lifestyle changes and habit changes while other people need to see their physician. It is advised that you see your doctor if you experience the symptoms of acid reflux frequently or if the symptoms interfere with work and other activities or disrupt your sleep. If you are suffering from other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing liquids or solids, vomiting blood, vomiting followed by severe chest pain, severe chest pain or pressure, especially if it radiates to your arm, neck, or back or if your stools are dark and tarry, go to your nearest emergency room at your local hospital immediately. If you are using a self care measure, make sure your physician is aware of it so they can monitor how you use them and how well these measures work.