Not just heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has taken many forms. Symptoms also include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, the sensation of a lump in your throat, or chronic cough in cases of nighttime acid reflux.
It is even misdiagnosed, leading to unnecessary treatments and costs. Sometimes, the symptoms of GERD are oftentimes ignored; but the disruption in activities of daily living can be very disruptive.
Sometimes, GERD is even misdiagnosed, especially in the case of sports-related injuries. This is why sports medicine doctors in Suwanee, GA, also focus on taking a step forward to screen, manage, and prevent such illness before it makes a permanent mark on the body.
What makes GERD disruptive?
Stomach acid is mainly HCl or hydrochloric acid. This very strong acid is known to dissolve even human organs, especially when they are not in the stomach. Other organs are not designed to handle HCl. This is why when this stomach-resident acid flows back up, your esophagus becomes irritated.
In some cases, it can also become inflamed, creating a sensation of a lump in the throat. Since reflux is chronic, this sensation becomes uncomfortable. Anything that passes through the throat may cause additional discomfort, leading to loss of appetite.
When the body is not getting enough nourishment, the immune system becomes weaker. Infections become more frequent. And your work, family, and activities of daily living are disrupted.
Who are at risk for GERD?
Like most illnesses, some persons are at higher risk for reflux. On the one hand, most factors are due to lifestyle.
Some of these are eating fatty or fried foods, eating large meals at night, and taking medications that are irritating to the stomach such as aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Even our beloved coffee has been tagged as one of the causes of reflux.
Conditions which may also cause GERD; on the other hand, include obesity, pregnancy, delayed stomach emptying, and hiatal hernia or when the top of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm.
When should you be worried?
GERD takes many forms. Some persons may experience it once a week, others more often. When GERD disrupts activities of daily living, you should be really worried. GERD may lead to ulcers and even esophageal cancer.
Often, heartburn may cause chest pain, and chest pain is often misdiagnosed. Such chest pain is dangerous since other illnesses such as heart diseases may not be given just assessment. Any form of disruption may have a cascading effect on your lifestyle, which then affects your work and family.
For this reason, some healthcare institutions such as those focusing on primary care are now looking to spot and stamp out such illness before it becomes bothersome. GERD might seem to most persons like an occasional chipped nail that needs filling, an irritating feeling that can wait.
Days pass, months, and even years. Before you know it, your reflux has now disrupted you in a major way. What has become a chipped nail has led to your need to chop off your entire limb.