Mayo Clinic Minute: GERD is not ‘just’ heartburn

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the widespread digestive issues on the earth.

It occurs when acid comes up from the abdomen, which is acid-resistant, into the esophagus, which is much less acid-resistant.

Dr. James East, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London, says GERD could also be widespread, however there may be probably extreme problems if it is ongoing and left untreated.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:08) is within the downloads on the finish of the submit. Please courtesy: “Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.

Heartburn — it is the cardinal symptom of GERD. 

“GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is when you get acid and chemical damage to the lining of the esophagus,” says Dr. East.

You would possibly really feel a lump within the throat, have problem swallowing, have chest ache, a cough, or have worsening asthma-type signs.

“Complications of GERD embody esophagitis, irritation within the backside of the esophagus,” says Dr. East. “If this is persistent, you can develop scarring and a stricture.”

But if it is persistent and heals, the liner of the esophagus can change to a extra acid-resistant type, which is Barrett’s esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is a fairly widespread complication of GERD,” he says.

It impacts 10% to 15% of individuals with GERD. And a a lot smaller group faces one other threat, says Dr. East.

“About 1 in 200 sufferers with Barrett’s esophagus per 12 months will develop esophageal adenocarcinoma.

There are innovative treatments for GERD and drugs, like proton pump inhibitors. But first, keep away from triggers, like espresso, alcohol and smoking. 

“If you have severe or frequent GERD, you should seek medical advice,” advises Dr. East.

Learn extra about Barrett’s esophagus:

  Watch: Dr. East discusses Barrett’s esophagus

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