- PrescriptionPoint

Dec 7, 2020

GERD: Indicators your chronic heartburn might be something more

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chronic heartburn

Do you feel an annoying sensation in your tummy that feels like the acid in your stomach is bubbling toward your throat? You may have chronic heartburn.

While it’s normal to experience heartburn from eating greasy foods, many times it could be something more severe. You may have GERD. The acronym stands for a medical condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

This medical condition occurs when the acid in your stomach rises to your mouth, lungs, and esophagus. The truth is, the condition isn’t rare.

According to research studies, around 18 to 27% of people in North American suffer from the condition. In this post, you’ll discover warning signs and indicators of GERD. Let’s take a look at acid reflux symptoms.

Indicators of GERD

One of the first indicators you may have GERD is when you have a bitter taste in your mouth. GERD moves the food and bile from your tummy into your throat, causing a bitter taste in your mouth.

At the same time, you may also experience a burning in your esophagus that is highly unpleasant and painful.

Your throat feels hot, sore, and you also produce more saliva than usual. People report GERD feels as if their throat is on fire. If this happens to you, don’t shrug it off as a one or two-time occurrence.

Consistent Heartburn

When you feel a burning in your chest, you might think you have heartburn from eating acidic and greasy foods. Many people who experience heartburn think if they take an antacid, the heartburn will go away on its own. But sometimes it doesn’t.

When the burning in your chest is continual, you may have something more serious. It’s normal to feel regurgitation and heartburn in your chest once in a while. But when it happens frequently you may have contracted GERD.

Difficulty Swallowing

Do you feel like your food gets stuck in your throat? When you have acid reflux disease, that’s exactly how it feels. This condition is called dysphagia.

The condition can make it difficult to swallow. It can also make you feel like you don’t want to eat.

The condition seems to flare up when eating these foods:

  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Acidic foods
  • Soft cheeses
  • Caffeine

If you have trouble swallowing when eating these foods, eliminate them from your diet. What may also help is eating fewer smaller meals more frequently during the day. And try some healthy foods that may help keep GERD symptoms to a minimum.

Serious Issues That Could Happen If GERD Is Left Untreated

If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious health conditions. One condition is called esophagitis. Esophagitis happens when the acid damages the lining inside the esophagus.

Other conditions that may occur from acid reflux disease include a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias form when the stomach slides into the chest from your diaphragm.

GERD can also turn into esophageal ulcers, esophageal strictures, or at worst a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It’s also known as esophageal cancer.

You Feel a Heart Attack Coming on

Another sign of chronic heartburn and GERD is when you feel like you’re experiencing a heart attack. Since the chest is next to the heart, you might mistake the symptoms of GERD for the cardiac symptoms associated with a heart attack.

Other than burning, you can also feel pain with GERD. That’s another reason people think they’re having a heart attack when they experience GERD.

If you’re not sure what is causing your chest pain, it’s best to see a physician to find out for sure. If you have acid reflux disease, your doctor can prescribe medications to help.

Don’t assume you have acid reflux disease and head to the neighborhood pharmacy for an over-the-counter medication. Visit your doctor to learn if you have GERD or a serious cardiac condition.

Persistent Cough

When the acid in your stomach travels up your food pipe, some of the acids can seep into your lungs. This creates respiratory problems. They can be minor and give you a hoarse cough, cause congestion in your chest, or a persistent cough.

Other times respiratory issues can cause pneumonia, wheezing, laryngitis, or asthma. While these can be due to Gastroesophageal reflux disease, your respiratory problems may be a result of another condition.

See a physician to find out the cause. It could be acid reflux disease or another condition such as smoking or a pulmonary issue unrelated to GERD.

Respiratory Problems

Do you feel a shortness of breath? Difficulty breathing is one of the many symptoms of acid reflux.

Some of the respiratory problems associated with GERD include aspiration or bronchospasm. These conditions can become life-threatening and should not be ignored.

When to Contact Your Physician

If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, a persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain, contact your physician immediately. Your doctor will do some tests.

If you have GERD, they may prescribe what’s known as a proton pump inhibitor for treatments. Medications may include but are not limited to:

  • Omeprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • lansoprazole

The above are the most common medicines to treat GERD. But there are other medical options as well. Your physician may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further testing.

Home Remedies

You can take steps at home to relieve your acid reflux. Some of the things that can help include elevating your had at bedtime and improving your digestion.

  • Eat three to four hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest properly while you’re still you’re awake
  • Elevate your head when you get ready for bed by propping your pillows up high (don’t lie flat)
  • Sleep on your left side to avoid irritation of acid reflux due to the shape of the stomach

Following these tips will help relieve your acid reflux. And sleep more soundly through the night.

Chronic Heartburn Reviewed

Now you know the warning signs that happen in the body during chronic heartburn. If you’re experiencing the symptoms, you may have GERD.

This condition can be managed with medication, proper diet, and sleep adjustments. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor.

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