The Risks Of Untreated Heartburn And GERD

After finishing a big meal, you feel it – that scorched feeling in your chest. Sometimes the tissue damage from acid reflux can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus This condition causes the tissue in your esophagus to be replaced with tissue similar to what’s found in the intestinal lining. Sometimes these cells develop into precancerous cells. I have spent 35 years studying reflux, particularly the silent type, that is, acid reflux occurring without heartburn. Silent refluxers have symptoms such as hoarseness, chronic throat-clearing and cough, difficulty swallowing, post-nasal drip, and asthma-like symptoms. (See also my Silent Reflux post. Indeed, in 1991, I published data from a serries of 31 patients with throat cancer; 84% had documented reflux, but only 33% had heartburn.

According to the American Cancer Society, esophageal cancer is three to four times more common in men than in women. Fortunately, it is a relatively rare cancer and doesn’t make it onto the list of 10 most common cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. Acid reflux , also called heartburn, is the burning sensation you might feel in your chest or throat after you eat certain foods. Most people have probably experienced acid reflux at least once in their lives. These liquid and tablet formulations are called antacids, and there are dozens of brands available, all with similar effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, and any need for regular use should be discussed with a doctor.

The esophagus is the long tube that carries food from your throat down to your stomach. When you experience acid reflux, acid from your stomach comes up into your esophagus. Over time, this can damage your esophageal tissue and increase your risk of developing cancer website link in your esophagus. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of esophageal cancer. The more alcohol someone drinks, the higher their chance of getting esophageal cancer. Alcohol affects the risk of the squamous cell type more than the risk of adenocarcinoma.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD ) is diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week. Losing weight and stopping smoking will remove two lifestyle risk factors associated with acid reflux. Barrett’s esophagus occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of people with GERD, and of those cases, only 1 percent develop into cancer. When the condition is caught early on, it’s easy for your doctor to remove the abnormal cells. But Barrett’s esophagus has no symptoms (beyond what you experience with GERD), so it’s essential that if you have GERD, you see a doctor for treatment and monitoring.

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