People who neglect to treat their gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD have higher chances of having difficulty controlling its symptoms. GERD is commonly known as acid-reflux disease. The symptoms of this serious case of heartburn are common when the esophagus becomes inflamed. If left untreated, esophageal ulcers can develop and in serious cases, the esophagus will even narrow because of scar tissue formation.
The symptoms of the disease include:
* bleeding in the esophagus due to acid irritation
* shortness of breath
* the feeling that food is getting stuck behind your breastbone after you swallow.
These problems can sometimes occur in asthmatics and can even cause asthma symptoms to worsen. The most common among the severe GERD symptoms is persistent heartburn. The burning sensation can also occur in the throat and jaw area. Sometimes it can be accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth.
The presence of severe GERD symptoms, especially when left untreated, can lead to a more serious disease. Acid exposure can lead to ulcerations and the subsequent formation of scar tissue, resulting in a thinning of the esophagus which can further hamper the swallowing of food.
A serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease is known as Barrett’s esophagus. Under this condition, the esophagus undergoes a cellular change which may lead to an increased risk of esophageal cancer. At the present time, no one can predict which patients with Barrett’s esophagus will develop cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that all patients suffering from this disease have their esophagus periodically checked in order to detect cancer while it is still early and curable.
There are medications for treating this esophageal malady. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter antacids which can be purchased without prescriptions. Medications have varying actions, some have the main function of stopping or significantly reducing the production of acids or others work to help relax the muscles that empty the stomach. Just remember that drugs work in different ways, and it may take a combination of drugs may help control symptoms.
On the other hand, maintaining a good lifestyle is still the best way to avoid and cure severe GERD symptoms. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco and maintaining a healthy weight can lessen or even help you to avoid the heartburning symptoms. Foods like chocolate, peppermint, citrus, caffeinated drinks and spicy foods can trigger the disease it would be a lot better if you eat these foods in moderation.
See your physician to learn how to best manage your severe GERD symptoms.