Acid Reflux Disease – When It’s Not Just Heartburn Anymore
Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease and no matter what you call it, this one is a real pain!
Persistent, frequent heartburn occurring more than twice a week and often lasting two hours or more can be an early indicator of something more serious than simple heartburn. It could be acid reflux. Characterized by the abnormal reflux of the stomach’s gastric contents backwards into the esophagus resulting in a burning in the chest a throat. Left untreated the chronic symptoms of this disease can lead to erosion of the delicate esophageal tissues.
A temporary relaxation of or an abnormal closing of the lower esophageal sphincter, LES, allows the back flow or regurgitation of stomach acids back into the esophagus causing the characteristic heartburn associated with acid reflux.
A burning or general soreness in the throat, chest pain, a burning sensation in the chest, hoarseness, difficulty or painful swallowing, nausea, vomiting, pain in the ears, an acidic taste in the mouth, the sensation of fluid arising from the throat back into the mouth, bad breath and a chronic cough or tickle in the throat are all frequently reported symptoms.
It is important to remember that someone suffering with heartburn does not necessarily have acid reflux disease. Heartburn is often the result of a heavy meal or even an overly fatty or acidic meal. Heartburn occurs infrequently and may simply be just that… heartburn… and not the more serious condition. Persistent, frequent heartburn occurring more often than twice per week may be a sign that acid reflux is the culprit and not just your run-of-the-mill heartburn. Heartburn unrelieved by traditional methods and occurring more frequently than usual should be evaluated by a physician or healthcare provider for a proper assessment and diagnosis.
Left untreated it can lead to esophagitis, an erosion of the lining of the esophagus, or tooth decay from the constant exposure of the teeth to gastric acid. There are many treatment options available for acid reflux disease… you don’t have to live with the pain anymore!