It is said that among the most common malady, though not surpassing and as morbid as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, plaguing modern man is Acid Reflux Disease or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Adult sufferers usually characterize the sensation caused by the disease as heartburn. Burning sensation in the chest behind the breastbone area, hence the term.
GERD is a state where acid from the abdomen is pushed or flows “upward” due to a relaxed or defective barrier (lower esophageal sphincter) between the stomach and the esophagus. While gastric acid aids in the secondary digestion of food in the wrong location and chronic exposure can cause the mucosal lining of the esophagus to inflame. This is manifested through symptoms of symptoms of heartburn, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, and excessive “burping” or belching.
Combination of the following factors may cause the problem:
• Weight gain or excessive eating
• Foods and beverages with high alcohol content, coffee, carbonated drinks, chocolate, mint
• Body posture while eating or lying down immediately after eating
• Certain medications
• A more serious cause can be due to a hiatal hernia.
It is another medical condition characterized by the protrusion of the upper part of the stomach into the esophageal wall consequent to the weakening of the muscle or diaphragm dividing the esophagus and stomach. Possible causes of a hiatal hernia or a hiatus hernia can be due to an injury, genetic defect or age.
Acid Reflux Treatment is multi-factorial in scope. Most adults simply resort to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (e.g. antacids) for an easy fix. Nonetheless, providing only symptomatic relief and not solving the problem entirely. Treatment regimen should focus on the reduction or elimination of risk factors that include behavioral or lifestyle modification or changes.
Unlike a hiatal hernia, since it’s caused by anatomical anomaly, most – if not all, of the other possible causes mentioned, can be controlled or eliminated altogether. To elaborate,
• Easier said than done. However, weight gain can be controlled and reversed by monitoring one’s Body Mass Index, Waist to Hip Ratio, Cholesterol levels in the blood and regular visits to the gym. In the absence of the latter due to lack of time, financial constraints or its combination, breast walking or its equivalent for 20-30 minutes a day should suffice.
• Eating small but frequent meals and avoiding or minimizing foods and beverages that can aggravate the condition should be seriously considered. Look for alternative foods that may not be as popular but may be as palatable and satiable as the antagonist. “Water therapy” and water only as beverage is a wise and more viable option.
• Eat while seated upright. If that’s prohibitive, position the upper body to a 45-degree angle or high fowler’s position.
• Stop smoking. Impossible to quit? Try the behavioral (e.g. aversive therapy) approach or visit and ask your doctor for counsel.
• While it’s a joy to most women, being pregnant can pose a variety of temporary health conditions such as Acid Reflux. Seriously consider your Obstetrician’s advice about weight gain as a consequence of eating excessively, and seek your doctor’s advice before taking any medications to relieve the symptoms.
• Seek you doctor’s advice about drugs that may cause heartburn and ask for options.
Further, medications, especially antacids, provide fast but temporary relief. One drug containing the active agent Rabeprazole of the proton pump inhibitor drug groups, however, top the list of drugs that minimize heartburn. Pariet (rabeprazole sodium) through its active agent works by minimizing or eliminating the production of stomach acids. While the action allows the relief of symptoms associated with Acid Reflux, Pariet, like any other medications should be taken with precaution and upon advice from a professional.
In a nutshell, Acid Reflux Treatment is multi-pronged – lifestyle modification or change, appropriate medication and prudence. After all, there is no reliable cure than a mili-gram of prevention.2016-08-04