Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – daily medical information
Many people around the world, especially in exotic countries, suffer from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Scientists believe that the reason for the increase in the number of people infected with it is due to eating unhealthy foods, which requires a healthy diet for GERD patients to relieve symptoms.
Many people may experience stomach acid reflux from time to time, but the condition is not diagnosed as GERD unless it is mild at least twice a week, and moderate or severe once a week.
Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition of chronic acid reflux caused by constant leakage of acid into the esophagus, the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach. When this condition occurs because the lower esophageal sphincter is weak, preventing it from closing completely when food reaches the stomach, acid flows through the esophagus back into the throat and mouth, making you feel a sour taste in your mouth.
People with gastroesophageal reflux disease are more likely than others to develop heart disease. Note that the symptoms of heartburn and heart attack can be very similar, making it difficult to distinguish. Therefore, if you have chest pain, you need to get tests done right away to rule out a heart attack.
It should be noted that some people with GERD may be able to overcome the problem by making simple lifestyle changes or using some medications that do not require a doctor to prescribe, but some patients may need effective drug treatment for GERD and sometimes surgery.
Symptoms of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can vary from person to person, and symptoms can include some or all of the following:
- Swallowing difficulties
- Burping from food or drink
- A bump or bump in the throat
- dry cough
- bad breath
People with GERD may also have a chronic cough, sore throat, and an allergic crisis that’s either new or worse and insomnia.
On the other hand, some people may have silent reflux symptoms that do not cause the usual reflux symptoms to appear. Researchers have found that a significant number of GERD patients have this silent type.
Prolonged exposure to untreated GERD can lead to:
- Narrowing of the esophagus: When the wall of the esophagus is subjected to constant irritation due to excess stomach acid, the texture of its tissues changes and turns into less flexible tissues, which leads to narrowing of the esophagus and the occurrence of difficulty in swallowing.
- Esophageal ulcers: They are the result of inflammation of the esophagus wall caused by stomach acid, which causes ulcers in the esophageal wall and complications such as severe pain or bleeding and difficulty swallowing.
- Esophageal cancer: As a result of chronic exposure of the esophageal wall to stomach acid, cell types can change, leading to an increased risk of esophageal cancer, which usually affects the upper and middle parts of the esophagus.
Does gastroesophageal reflux disease lead to weight loss?
Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause nausea, pain, and difficulty swallowing. Over time, this can lead to a loss of appetite and persistent vomiting, which leads to weight loss, indicating complications of GERD.
Causes of GERD
To discover how GERD occurs, let’s look at the anatomical structure of the upper part of the digestive system, which consists of the mouth, throat, and esophagus connected to the stomach, and at its junction a circular muscular ring that acts as a valve to allow food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach and prevent it from returning to the esophagus after it has been mixed with stomach acid.
And when the ring known as the opening of the heart relaxes or weakens, it does not perform its primary function, and the food mixed with stomach acid returns to the esophagus, exposing the esophagus to irritation and inflammation, then the symptoms of the upper kick were mentioned.
There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the disease, such as:
- overweight (obesity)
- Hiatal hernia affecting the upper part of the stomach.
- Connective tissue problems such as scleroderma.
- Delayed gastric emptying due to gastrointestinal motility problems.
There are also factors that can increase the severity of the condition if it already exists, such as:
- Eat large meals or eat late at night.
- Excessive intake of fatty and fried foods.
- Excessive drinking of coffee or alcohol.
- Take certain medications, such as high blood pressure medications, asthma medications, pain relievers, and antidepressants.
Also Read: The Relationship Between Gastroesophageal Reflux and Asthma
Your doctor can diagnose GERD using information from your medical history and some clinical tests. To confirm the diagnosis or track complications , the doctor may order the following tests:
1. Oral endoscope
To do this, an endoscope with a photodetector and camera is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus to examine the esophageal wall in detail, and a sample of the esophageal wall can also be taken for examination and confirmation or norm. of possible cancerous changes.
2. Portable Acid Reagent Test
It is a small catheter that is inserted through the nose or through an esophagoscope. The catheter is connected to a small computer that can be worn around the waist or shoulder. Its task is to know when and when acid flows into the esophagus, and after two days the catheter will come out with stool.
3. Esophageal manometry
It does this by measuring the movement of muscle contractions in the esophagus during swallowing, as well as measuring the coordination between these muscles and the force of their contraction.
X-ray of the upper digestive tract Before imaging, the patient takes a drink that stains the upper part of the digestive tract so that the distribution of fluid can be seen during imaging, thus diagnosing esophageal stricture or something else. Problems affecting the passage of food impede swallowing.
Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) treatment
First, the doctor will suggest you change your lifestyle and some habits that can lead to chronic GERD, and he may also suggest some simple medications as the initial treatment, but if the condition does not improve within a few weeks, the doctor will be more effective. Medicines or sometimes surgery.
1. Medications for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Antacids can help relieve symptoms and heartburn, but they do not cure gastritis, they only relieve symptoms.
- Medicines that reduce stomach acid production, which work slower than antacids, but their effect is stronger and lasts longer because they reduce stomach acid production.
- Medicines that reduce acid production and help heal the esophagus, such as omeprazole and its derivatives. These drugs are known to be stronger and more effective than their predecessors because they stop acid production for long periods, which gives cells and tissues of the esophagus a chance to recover from inflammation.
- Medicines that strengthen the opening of the heart, such as baclofen, that relax the heart, thus reducing the flow of acid back into the esophagus.
2. Surgery and some non-pharmacological methods
- Narrowing of the stomach opening: The surgery is done through endoscopy, which involves narrowing the upper part of the stomach around the end of the esophagus to prevent GERD.
- Linux device: A magnetic ring placed around the opening of the heart, narrow enough to prevent acid reflux, and wide enough to allow food to pass through.
3. Lifestyle and home remedies
Home remedies for GERD include:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit smoking.
- Relieve symptoms with massage.
- Sleep on a raised pillow.
- Avoid foods or drinks that increase GERD, such as fatty foods, alcohol, and coffee.
- Avoid clothes that are tight at the waist.
4. Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease with natural recipes
- Chamomile herbs can be taken to relieve reflux symptoms, but you should check with your doctor first.
- Relaxation therapy to relieve stress and anxiety and relax muscles.
Preparing for a doctor’s appointment
- If you decide to see a doctor, you should take the following precautions:
- Before you see your doctor, learn all meal precautions.
- Write down your symptoms even if you think they are unrelated to your problem.
- Write down the factors that make you feel better, such as eating a certain type of food.
- Write down all medications you take, including vitamins.
- Record your current medical history in detail.
- Write down your personal information and any lifestyle changes, such as: b. A change in diet or a recent increase in stress.
- Write down the questions and queries in your head to ask the doctor.
- Take a friend or family member with you so you can remember what you forgot.
If you have GERD, you should ask your doctor these questions:
- What is the possible cause of my symptoms?
- What checks should I do? Do you need to take any precautions before taking these tests?
- Is my condition temporary or chronic?
- What treatments are available for my condition?
- Are there any restrictions that should be respected?
- If I have a different medical problem, how can I coordinate the two problems and treat them in parallel?
What do you expect from your doctor?
Your doctor will need some information from you and may ask you questions such as:
- Since when do these symptoms appear? And how bad was it?
- Were the symptoms continuous or intermittent?
- What factors made the symptoms get better or worse?
- Did these symptoms cause you to wake up at night?
- Do your symptoms get worse after eating or when you’re lying in bed to sleep?
- Have you ever had food or liquids passed out of your mouth?
- Are you having trouble swallowing or have you had to change the quality of your food to make it easier to swallow?
- Have you gained or lost weight recently?