Do you suffer from heartburn? If you do, you are not alone. This condition occurs when there is a backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Almost everyone at one point feels that burning sensation in the area behind the breast bone, usually after a meal. For some individuals, however, this uncomfortable burning sensation is very frequent, or severe enough to cause problems. For those people it is considered a medical condition known as GERD. GERD is an acronym that stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
GERD affects an estimated 5% to 7% of the global population. The most common symptom of this disease is chronic heartburn. Since heartburn is so common, it is usually not associated with GERD. Frequent heartburn, occurring more than once a week, suggests the possibility that they may be suffering from GERD, and should seek medical assistance. If GERD is not properly rated, it could result in serious complications.
Heartburn is not the only symptom of GERD. In fact some people who suffer from this disease do not suffer from heartburn at all. Some of the other symptoms include pain when swallowing, chronic sore throat, regurgitation of gastric acid or sour contents into the mouth, and bad breath.
GERD can affect anyone. However, it is more common for adults over 40. Even though GERD is more precalent to adults over 40, actually anyone can get GERD, even infants. In fact, many experts have linked GERD to sudden infant death syndrome.
Once diagnosed, GERD is easily treated. In most cases the treatment of GERD includes a change in the patient's lifestyle. Since certain foods aggravate the symptoms of GERD, a change of diet is necessary, such as avoiding fatty foods, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. Your doctor may also recommend taking medication that reduces the amount of acid your stomach produces.
There is no cure for GERD. However, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help those suffering lead a normal life.