Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Dr. Jorge, author of the best-selling health and cook book, The Acid Reflux Solution, offers advice, information, and even a few recipes to help you live a better life, without sacrificing any of its great pleasures.See all posts »
Burn Baby, Burn
Young adults aren’t immune, either. At an age where the tendency to overindulge is greatest, being awaken by a little bit of acid or bile in your mouth after a night of celebration is almost a rite of passage.
People over fifty have the greatest frequency of GERD. Not only does your digestive system undergo certain changes that make reflux more likely as you get older, but you’re also prone to weight gain with age. Being overweight or obese is strongly associated with GERD. While writing The Acid Reflux Solution, I had to really evaluate myself and start walking the walk. I followed my own recommendations and lost thirty pounds. To this day, that weight is gone, and so are my symptoms of reflux.
What are the symptoms of GERD? The classic symptom is an “acidy” feeling that goes up your chest towards your throat. This is usually called “heartburn.” But the symptoms of GERD can be much more subtle. They can include:
- a constantly hoarse or raspy voice
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- a persistent, dry cough
- pitting or discoloration of the teeth
- chronic sore throat
In some people, long-standing GERD can lead to esophageal strictures (from scarring) and even esophageal cancer. Unfortunately, less than half of the 50 million people suffering from acid reflux seek medical help. Instead, more than a quarter of all Americans with GERD self-medicate more than two times a month.
This isn’t a benign choice, as all the medications to treat GERD, including the over-the-counter medications, have serious long-term complications. For example, they can cause changes in the stomach lining and decrease absorption of iron and calcium. This can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and hip fractures. You should always get the go-ahead from your physician first, but there are better, more natural, and more permanent ways to treat GERD than constantly opening the medicine cabinet.
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