What is Gerds disease?
Actually, there is no such thing as Gerds disease. ‘GERD’ is not a name but an acronym for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as acid reflux disease.
It is best to set things straight so as to avoid wrongly referring to this condition as Gerd’s disease to your doctor or to other people which might cause some embarrassment on your part.
So the correct question is what is GERD instead of what is Gerds disease?
Gerds Disease – Clarifying Things
GERD is a regularly occurring reflux that spans a lengthy period of time. One of the most distinctive symptoms of GERD is the frequent occurrence of heartburn, an indication that acid regularly refluxes into the esophagus causing damage. Untreated GERD may result in life-threatening health problems so it is important that the disease is addressed the moment it makers its presence known.
What causes GERD?
Acid reflux disease occurs when food or liquid leaves the stomach and travels up to the esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, the muscle which closes the esophagus and prevents stomach contents from re-entering, becomes inhibited or relaxed.
The LES normally remains in a contracted position, effectively sealing off the top of the stomach however, there are some factors that cause this band of muscle to relax and not function well. Some of the things that can cause the LES to relax include certain foods, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Occasional acid reflux due to relaxed LES is normal but frequent reflux is often called GERD. This disease may also develop due to other health factors like obesity and physical defects like a recent abdominal surgery or hiatal hernia.
Causes of GERD vary from person to person and if you suffer from frequent acid reflux, start a food journal and note when certain foods result to reflux. A food journal will help you identify your GERD triggers and avoid them in the future.
How is this Gerds disease treated?
There are two main treatment approaches for GERD – medication and basic lifestyle changes. The occasional acid reflux symptoms can be eased by antacids which are available over-the-counter however, as GERD is a more serious condition, prescribed medicines are often necessary. Doctors typically prescribe proton-pump inhibitors or H2-blockers. These are short-term medications that work by reducing the amount of acids produced and blocking the chemicals that produce acids in the stomach.
Recommended lifestyle changes include:
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight (if obese)
- Eating foods good for acid reflux.
- Avoiding foods that trigger the condition.
- Minimizing intake of alcohol and coffee or tea.
- Exercising right.
Doctors and other medical professionals say that this Gerds disease can be treated simply by making the necessary lifestyle changes, however many individuals find that making lifestyle changes is difficult. Due to this, unnecessary GERD medications are building a multi-billion dollar industry.