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Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Just Not Heartburn

Indigestion from time to time is common and many people suffer from it. When indegestion occurs more often it could indicate a condition that is more serious. Gastro-Esophageal Disease or Gerd as it is commonly referred to is a serious condition that affects 20% Americans.

GERD is a digestive disorder. The stomach acids from digesting food and fluids flow back into the esophagus. My son had GERD at a very young age and my brother did not have Gerd til he was an adult. The issue may last for long period of times or be temporary. If GERD is left untreated it can cause health problems such as inflammation of the esophagus, risk of esophageal cancer or lead to respiratory problems such as asthma, fluid in lungs, chest congestion, wheezing or pneumonia.

The most common symptom of Gerd is heartburn but it is not always present. Bad breath, coughing, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are all symptoms as well. Many with Gerd will have difficulty swallowing and erosion of teeth may happen after time. 

Gerd may be diagnosed by symptoms and medical history. This may not always be the case as further testing may be necessary. A gastroenterologist will perform the test, x-ray for difficult breathing and lung infections. An upper GI xray exam of the digestive organs may be done as well. 
Medicine may be prescribed if you have tried everything and nothing works. If you smoke stopping may help GERD, losing weight is another thing that often helps. Looser fitting clothes helps as well. Sitting up a few hours after eating may help as well. Sleeping with the head of the bed elevated. Be aware of what foods and ingredients may worsen GERD symptoms. Try to avoid mint, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, acidic foods and spicy foods, these foods often trigger GERD The time you eat and the amount of food you eat can also make a difference in how you feel. Smaller meals through the day will help prevent flare ups of GERD
Preventing GERD will take lifestyle changes. Keep a log what and when you eat and drink will help you find out what happens. Symptoms seem to flare up and review your log over time to I.D. patterns. Doctors and dietitians can help create a plan to prevent and treat Gerd. .

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