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Acid Reflux Disease: The Facts about WHY You Have Heartburn

Mar 16, 2008
It is the simultaneity of two medical conditions that brings on heartburn, or GERD - gastro-esophageal reflux disease as it is called. The reverse flow of food and acid from the stomach to the esophagus is the first factor favoring acid reflux disease. Nonetheless, healthy people can experience reflux as well, in a case called "physiologic gastroesophageal reflux" and this does not always mean symptoms of acid reflux disease or modification of the organic tissues.

The second factor encouraging acid reflux is a malfunction of the LES, the lower esophageal sphincter. The LES is a circle of muscle acting as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach, measuring 3-4 cm, some two to three times thicker than the proximal esophagus. In cases of acid reflux disease, the stomach contents is pushed back into the esophagus because the LES does not shut properly. This is then called acid reflux disease, when symptoms of the disease then follow.

Heartburn is the burning feeling in the chest or the throat, when the stomach contents is pushed back to the lining of the esophagus. The usual sensation of acid reflux disease is persistent (every 3 days or more) heartburn. Occasional heartburn is common as well and does not necessarily mean acid reflux disease, as light reflux can also affect individuals in good health.

Some sufferers say they feel food being blocked, a choking sensation or tightness in the throat. It is the continual flow back of stomach contents in contact with the esophagus that causes this, and the result is a swelling of the esophagus due scars from histological damage. Other sufferers of acid reflux disease may also feel chest-pains or suffer from nausea, coughs, burning pains in the chest, hoarseness in the morning, lasting earache, sinusitis, vocal changes, or problems in swallowing (notably lumpy foods).

Some patients can become affected by a condition known as Barrett's esophagus, where cells occurring in the esophageal lining assume abnormal forms and colors. Particularly in adults aged over 60, this is a first step towards cancer of the esophagus. Other effects include stricture of the esophagus, ulcers, bleeding, and spasms. When acid from the stomach reaches the trachea as well as the upper esophagus, several severe conditions such as sinusitis, asthma, and pneumonia can follow. Acid reflux disease that is not treated in a timely way can have serious consequences detrimental to health.

There are three options for treating acid reflux disease: surgery, medical therapy and holistic therapy that includes changes in diet and lifestyle and taking specific herbal supplements. Using surgery merits very careful consideration, given that certain underlying conditions can be complicated, such as constriction and muscular contraction disorders. PPIs and H2 blockers are among the options for medical intervention in cases of acid reflux disease. While it is possible to apply prescribed medications or acid blockers like these, remember that the results are sometimes only temporary and that conventional medicine can lead to serious side effects.

From an overall point of view, GERD is an alarm signal pertaining to a significant imbalance internally that must be correctly resolved. For this reason, alternative medicine such as homeopathic remedies, herbal medicine, changes in lifestyle as components of a full holistic plan are clearly recommended for sufferers of acid reflux.
About the Author
Jeff Martin is a medical researcher, certified nutritionist, health consultant and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, "Heartburn No More- Open The Door To an Acid Reflux Free Life". To Learn More About Jeff Martins Unique 5-Step Holistic Acid Reflux Cure System Visit:
Heartburn No More
, for further information visit: Acid Reflux Disease.
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