Overview of Acid Reflux Disease:
The acid reflux disease usually occurs when acid from the stomach is released into the esophagus thereby resulting into mucosal damage. The disease is caused as a result of either temporary or permanent changes occurring between the esophagus and the stomach. Usually, there is a valve in the stomach that is located where the esophagus joins the stomach. This valve plays the role of preventing any enzymes, stomach acid or duodenal bile from traveling back to the esophagus. At times though, these acids may be triggered to travel back to the esophagus for various reasons.
Acid Reflux Causes:
Acid reflux is caused by various factors such as a person’s change in body mass that may be translated to obesity, hypercalcemia, which is responsible for increasing the production of gastrin resulting in an increase in acid, use of certain medicines like prednisolone and hiatal hernia among others. Although these factors may not instantly lead to acid reflux, after a while, one is more likely to start noticing some symptoms which are related to the disease.
Acid Reflux Symptoms:
Some of the common symptoms experienced by adults suffering from the disease include experiencing trouble or pain when swallowing, heartburn, nausea, sore throat, chest pain and increase in salivation. If untreated for long, acid reflux can lead to more serious complications such as causing harmful injury to the esophagus. Among children, the disease can be detected if the infant starts vomiting repetitively, develops respiratory problems and has uncontrollable coughs. Additional symptoms may include having bad breath, belching and being unable to add weight adequately. Many children though that suffer from this condition are bound to outgrow it before their first birthday.
Acid Reflux Diagnosis:
The acid reflux disease can be diagnosed by checking whether the patient has the above symptoms or by monitoring the patient’s esophageal PH. One may also be given proton pump inhibitors to reduce the production of gastric acid. Endoscopy tests may also be done where a fiber optic scope is used to look at the stomach. This can only be done if the patient has suffered from a change in their voice, has blood related problems such as anaemia or if the patient has suffered massive weight loss.
Acid Reflux Treatment:
Treatment of the disease can be done through three main ways and these include changing one’s lifestyle, taking medication or getting surgery. A change in lifestyle simply means that one has to change the way they eat in order to lead a healthier lifestyle. This includes having a well-balanced diet, avoiding alcoholic drinks, quitting smoking, stop eating fatty, spicy and acidic foods and if necessary, losing weight. Medications may also be used to treat the disease. The drugs used in this case include proton pump inhibitors such as antacids and H2 receptor blockers. Whereby the damage caused by the disease has been extreme enough, surgery would be required. Compared to medication, surgery is more effective as it helps in improving one’s quality of life quicker.
Patients are however warned against over-relying on acid suppressants for it may result to serious side effects if used for long periods of time. Instead, it’s advisable that one observes a change in their lifestyle and takes over-the-counter medication rather than prescription drugs.