Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Could your frequent acid reflux be GERD? Understand this if you experience acid reflux often

Dr. Sandip Pal explains the situations where frequent acid reflux could turn into GERD and the importance of early management

BRAND CONNECT
Published: Mar 29, 2023 03:38:44 PM IST
Updated: Mar 29, 2023 03:41:26 PM IST

Could your frequent acid reflux be GERD? Understand this if you experience acid reflux oftenAcid reflux is what happens when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the esophagus.  Heartburn is the burning feeling a person gets when they have acid reflux. Frequent acid reflux may mean  a person has GERD.  

Millions of people suffer GERD symptoms such as regular acid reflux, heartburn, coughing, wheezing, or  hoarseness but don't know it.  

GERD is a chronic digestive disease where the acids or contents of the stomach flow back into the food  pipe (esophagus), injuring sensitive tissues. Our bodies produce stomach acid to help us digest our food.  Stomach acid isn't a concern while it stays in the stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) helps  keep stomach acid in the stomach. The LES relaxes to let food and drink in, then tightens to retain it.  When the LES relaxes, stomach acid can escape into the esophagus. The stomach has a rigid lining that  resists acid, but the food pipe does not. Its sensitive tissues are injured by acid, and other structures can be  damaged if the acid makes its way to the mouth.

GERD, when left untreated, can result in severe life-threatening complications. The most common is  Esophagitis, inflammation of the food pipe. It produces consistent burning pain that can make swallowing  and eating difficult. If left untreated, the inflammation can cause ulcers of the tube's lining, bleeding, or  both. Repeated cycles of Esophagitis and healing can lead to scarring and narrowing of the tube, known  as Esophageal stricture. Ongoing damage to the esophagus caused by stomach acid can trigger cellular  changes to the esophagus lining.It is a condition in which severe inflammation and acid conspire to  produce premalignant changes in the cells that line the esophagus. With Barrett's esophagus, the  squamous cells that line the lower esophagus are replaced by gland cells. Some 2% to 5% of people with  Barrett's esophagus develop cancer.

If you think you could be at risk of GERD, it is best to reach out to a gastroenterologist. It is very  important to “Guard against GERD” and get treated!

Issued in Public Interest by Dr.Reddy's Laboratories LTD

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