Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. I am a 45-year-old man working as a traveling salesman for an auto parts company. Because of my job I spend most of my time away from home and find myself eating fast food frequently. I have gained 25 pounds over the past 20 years but consider myself healthy. I started getting occasional episodes of discomfort under my breastbone about 10 years ago. These lasted a short time and occurred almost always when I ate a double cheeseburger with fries and a large soda. I used to ignore these but recently the episodes have become more severe, they last longer, and they are more frequent. I now have these problems about twice a week.
An increased number of men and women today suffer from chronic acid reflux. This condition, known as GERD or gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease can cause extensive damage in your body if you fail to have it treated promptly. While milder cases respond well to over-the-counter remedies like antacids or baking soda, severe acid reflux often accompanies serious and life-threatening symptoms that require your immediate attention. These seven symptoms of severe GERD signal your immediate need to go to an emergency room or visit with your physician promptly.
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Gravity has a big impact on GERD, which occurs when the band of muscles that function as an anti-reflux valve fails to form a tight seal. When you’re lying flat, acidic liquids can more easily leak through the LES. Sleeping with your upper body inclined by 8 to 11 inches has been shown to reduce both the try what she says number of times acid may leak through the LES and the length of time acid stays in contact with the esophagus. Foam wedges made specifically for the purpose are sold commercially. The important thing is for your esophagus to be higher than your stomach so that digestive acids remain in the stomach.
This patient is an example of a person who is not uncommon in the population. She has GERD that is controlled by long-term prescription strength proton pump inhibitors to a level that is tolerable. Her GERD affects her eating and sleeping habits, but she does not consider these intolerable because she can still continue with her normal life. The damage to her lower esophageal sphincter is likely to be significantly greater than in Stage 1. As long as the patient is comfortable with this level of control, RefluxMD does not recommend specialized testing for GERD.