Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Guard against GERD

Dr. Bhaskar Nandi gives us insights into GERD and explains the importance of treatment and lifestyle changes for managing the disorder

Published: Mar 28, 2023 11:34:56 AM IST
Updated: Mar 28, 2023 02:10:12 PM IST

Guard against GERDGERD, often referred to as acid-reflux disease, remains one of the commonest gastrointestinal  problems seen by a Gastroenterologist or a Physician in clinical practice. It indicates frequent  reflux of gastric acid and contents into the esophagus. GERD manifests with symptoms like  heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain and in some cough and wheeze. GERD may lead to  complications like inflammation of esophagus (esophagitis), ulcers, difficulty in swallowing due  to scarring of esophagus (stricture) and even esophageal cancer.

GERD occurs due to poor functioning of gastroesophageal junction apparatus comprising of  lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and crural diaphragm. LES is a band like muscle at the  junction of esophagus and stomach that normally relaxes to allow food to enter the stomach and  shuts tight to prevent back-flow of stomach contents into the esopahgus. When the LES becomes  weak and relaxed, gastric acid and other contents move back into the esophagus. Unlike the  stomach, esophageal mucosa is not built to tolerate acid and it easily gets injured to produce  symptoms of GERD. Impaired esophageal clearance, delayed gastric emptying and esophageal  hypersensitivity may also contribute towards GERD. The treatment of

GERD in many ways is a product of our current lifestyle. Risk factors include obesity, sedentary  life, smoking, poor eating habits, anxiety or depression, poor sleep and stress.
There is no gold-standard test to diagnose GERD. If symptoms are frequent or recurring, one  must see the physician or gastroenterologist who might suggests some tests like endoscopy,  manometry and pHmetry or a trial of antacids (PPI). Treatment of GERD includes long or  recurrent courses of antacids (proton-pump inhibitors or PPI), and in few patients endoscopic  therapy or surgery.

In view of difficult curative therapy, prevention is better than cure in GERD. Small meals, a two hour interval between eating and lying down, keeping the head-end of the bed elevated by a  brick height, abstinence from smoking and alcohol, maintaining an ideal body weight and  avoiding food triggers help in mitigating the symptoms of GERD.

GERD causes distress and often leads to serious complications. Understand GERD and Guard  against GERD for a better and healthy life.

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

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