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What to Know about Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux is a very disturbing condition and in some cases it can even become severe. Left untreated, the condition usually becomes chronic, its symptoms reoccurring after certain periods of time.

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, also referred to as acid reflux, is a physiological condition that causes the regurgitation of the stomach content into the esophagus and throat. Acid reflux is very common and may occur due to inappropriate diet, stress and unhealthy lifestyle. Some people are frequently confronted with acid reflux and in time they can develop serious complications. Physiological abnormalities seem to be the main cause for acid reflux (weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter, uncontrolled contractions of the sphincter, low pressure at the bottom of the esophagus due to abnormal positioning of the sphincter, etc). People who suffer from acid reflux as a consequence of physiological abnormalities can only overcome their condition through the means of ongoing medical treatment or surgery.

The best way of controlling the condition is through the means of good diet. Appropriate diet has a great importance in preventing and controlling acid reflux. Due to the fact that excessive production of stomach digestive fluids also contributes to the condition, an appropriate diet can ameliorate the symptoms of acid reflux. A good diet should exclude: foods that are rich in fat, milk, caffeine-based products, spicy foods, fried foods, alcoholic beverages and smoking.

Other means of controlling the symptoms of acid reflux are medications and surgery. Medical treatments include all kinds of drugs (antacids, histamine antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, etc) that can be effective in preventing the gastric acids from reaching inside the esophagus. Surgery provides permanent results and it is performed at the level of the esophagus. If abnormal activity of the lower esophageal sphincter is the cause of acid reflux, surgery can improve its functioning either by tightening the inner walls of the esophagus in order to increase pressure, or by reshaping the sphincter to better seal the lower end of the esophagus.

Acid reflux can occur in anyone and people can develop this condition at any age. Infants and small children are mostly affected by acid reflux, but the condition can also occur in teenagers, adults and elderly people. It is important to act quickly when suffering from acid reflux, as it can lead to complications. Left untreated, acid reflux can cause inflammation and deterioration of the esophagus, throat lesions, gastro-intestinal problems, breathing problems and sleep apnea. Acid reflux can aggravate in time or it can become chronic. In the chronic forms of acid reflux, the symptoms have a recidivating character and the condition needs ongoing treatment or surgical intervention in order to be overcome.

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