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Acid Reflux Symptoms Often Misread

Jun 19, 2008
Acid reflux symptoms are often misread, or thought to be something else. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is another name for acid reflux. GERD is are result of the acid in the stomach backing up and causing irritation and inflammation in the esophagus. Acid reflux symptoms can seem like a heart attack, asthma attack, or other more serious complication. Many unnecessary hospital visits are a result of people misdiagnosing symptoms of GERD.

Heartburn
The most common acid reflux symptom is heartburn. Heartburn is named because it feels like your chest is burning. Heartburn can also be felt in the area of the neck and throat. Somebody who has never experienced heart disease can feel as if they are experiencing a heart attack. Heartburn can be very painful but relief can typically be found with antacids and light exercise. It is always better to be safe. If you are unsure if the burning in your chest is heartburn it is best to seek medical attention.

Coughing and Wheezing
Coughing and wheezing that is caused by GERD can be mistaken for asthma or bronchitis. When these symptoms are caused by acid reflux it is because the acid in the stomach is forced into and partially block the airways. This can cause the feeling of being short of breath or the need to cough to force the acid out. Many people pass these acid reflux symptoms off as being caused by smoking. While smoking can certainly cause similar symptoms, they are usually more persistent and don't resolve themselves. These symptoms can be a sign of underlying conditions, even if they go away and come back later. They should be discussed with a physician.

Children with Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux disease can cause some symptoms in children that will seem flu-like. Children can experience vomiting and coughing, along with other respiratory symptoms. Vomiting can happen because a child is small and the acid being forced up has nowhere to go but out. Excessive vomiting should be taken seriously as this could cause dehydration in children. Be sure to let your pediatrician know exactly what is going on if your child exhibits symptoms of GERD. It is a good idea to keep a journal of what your child consumes, activities, and symptoms to determine if there is a correlation between them. Finding the trigger of a child's acid reflux symptoms will make treatment much easier.

Older Adults with GERD
GERD in older adults can cause symptoms that make them feel as if they are choking. This can be especially frightening for an older person because they may not have the strength to cough it up or there might be nobody around to ask for help. Lying down or bending can worsen these symptoms. There are prescription medications that can be helpful to people who experience this.

Acid reflux symptoms can be caused by other medical problems and should never be ignored. Often a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes can be most beneficial. If you are experiencing trouble with reflux try to cut out foods that may be the source of your symptoms. Quit smoking and stay away from alcohol as these can be major contributors to symptoms of GERD. As always, work with your physician to find the best treatment for acid reflux symptoms.
About the Author
Ryan has created a great resource about acid reflux and how to recognize acid reflux symptoms.
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