This health video focus' on those people who suffer from nighttime heartburn, is it really a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
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Dr. Dean Edell: For years, the choices Walter Fiallos made during the day would come back to haunt him at night. Walter Fiallos: I'd get indigestion--even if it were a piece of bread or a glass of water. Jennifer Matthews: GERD happens when acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus. Dr. Neil Stollman: Up to 20 or 25% of adults in this country will at some point be labeled with a diagnosis of reflux disease. Dr. Dean Edell: Nighttime can make matters worse. While lying down, damaging acids can creep out of the stomach into the esophagus and burn the protective lining. Dr. Robert Bresalier: We don't salivate as much at night, so we lose that protective mechanism. We lose a whole variety of protective mechanisms in the nighttime hours. Dr. Dean Edell: A study found almost 80% of GERD sufferers have painful symptoms at night. 40% said it slows down the next day. Left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious problems. Dr. C. Daniel Smith: Not just heartburn and indigestion, but damage to the esophagus that could be permanent. Dr. Dean Edell: If caught early, powerful prescription medications called proton pump inhibitors can help. They block acid production completely and help reverse damage to the esophagus. Dr. Robert Bresalier: If we heal erosions and ulcers, we hope to prevent what is one of the most concerning things about reflux, the development of cancer in the esophagus. Dr. Dean Edell: More than 90% of patients get relief from pain and erosions after using these drugs. Walter Fiallos: The main thing is I can sleep much better at night. Dr. Dean Edell: For Walter, life with extra onions, hold the reflux is a dream come true. I am Dr. Dean Edell.