We all have an occasional upset stomach or heartburn from that meatball sub. But, GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a much more significant disease. Gerd is a chronic disorder in which stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. This acid is extremely strong and, over time, will begin to irritate the lining of your esophagus
and can lead to some very serious conditions.
Heartburn with intense burning in your chest that spreads to your throat is one of the most common symptoms of GERD. Another symptom is chest pain, which intensifies when you're lying down. Someone with GERD may also bring up small amounts of food or sour liquid. Over time, swallowing can become difficult, hoarseness can occur and the voice can change.
Eventually, the esophagus can become narrow which, in addition to the swallowing difficulty, can cause breathing difficulty, too. Bleeding can also occur. Some more serious conditions resulting from chronic acid reflux or GERD are esophageal ulcers; Barrett's syndrome, a premalignant condition; and possibly even the development of esophageal cancer.
Having a hiatal hernia can worsen your heartburn by weakening the lower esophageal muscle. Obesity also puts one at greater risk for suffering with GERD. Its not only the spicy foods that causes the acid reflux; caffeine, fatty foods, chocolate, mint, and alcohol can cause reflux. Overeating any food can bring it on, as can certain medications, such as some sedatives and tranquilizers. If you're currently taking these medications, switch to a natural, herbal remedy that contains the Valerian root and other pure ingredients.
If you're overweight, try to cut down. A 10 percent loss will make a difference. Eat smaller meals and cut out alcohol. Herbal teas can help with a weight-loss program. Don't lay down right after you eat and raise the head of your bed slightly. If you smoke, stop. There are some wonderful herbal aids to assist you in your endeavor to kick the habit.
By Suzanne VanDeGrift
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