An Introduction to Acid Reflux

acid reflux

Story at-a-glance -

  • About 20 to 30 percent of the American population suffer from acid reflux symptoms once a week, with the other 40 percent suffering from heartburn once or twice a month, which can be linked to the ingestion of specific foods that irritate the gut
  • GERD is characterized by acid reflux symptoms occurring more than twice a week, together with the inflammation of the esophagus

Approximately 60 million adults are affected by acid reflux, with about 25 million living with the symptoms on a daily basis.1 Unfortunately the prevalence of acid reflux in the population is still on the rise.

The gradual increase in people who suffer from acid reflux can be attributed to various factors. In a 2011 study, it was determined that acid reflux cases had doubled in the previous 10 years, with the researchers noting that this rise in acid reflux patients runs parallel to the number of people who are obese and overweight, especially since obesity is a known risk factor for acid reflux.2

The exact cause of this condition cannot be pinpointed on one particular cause, but it may be triggered by numerous external and internal factors. These articles will focus on the reasons why acid reflux happens, its causes and the treatment options and lifestyle changes you can employ to dampen or eliminate the symptoms completely.

Is Acid Reflux the Same as GERD?

The burning sensation people feel in their chest or the back of their throat is usually attributed to heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While they all share the similar symptoms, this may become a problem when it comes to treatment options.

When an individual mentions that they have heartburn, they are usually referring to a burning sensation felt in the chest.3 In some cases, this may be mistaken for heart attack pain, especially when the pain is severe.4 Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, the condition brought on by a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid to travel up the esophagus. Aside from heartburn, patients who suffer from acid reflux may also get sore throats and a cough.

If acid reflux occurs more frequently than normal, you may be diagnosed with GERD, which is its chronic form. GERD is characterized by acid reflux symptoms occurring more than twice a week, together with the inflammation of the esophagus. Because of the rate of recurrence, patients also suffer from more symptoms than just acid reflux, including damaged tooth enamel, mucositis, asthma and bad breath.5

If you’re having trouble differentiating these terms, just remember that heartburn is a symptom of both acid reflux and GERD, and GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux.

Is Acid Reflux Dangerous?

Acid reflux may seem like a common condition since it doesn’t cause much debilitation aside from the heartburn and nausea, but it may still lead to serious diseases if left undiagnosed or untreated.

The constant barrage of stomach acid traveling up the esophagus may lead to serious damage in the esophagus, as its lining is thinner and more delicate than the lining of the stomach. Numerous esophageal complications may arise if adjustments are not done to control this condition.6

Acid reflux may also cause patients’ teeth to decay due to the stomach acid’s ability to break down the teeth enamel, weakening it and exposing patients to a higher risk of cavities.7

MORE ABOUT ACID REFLUX

Acid Reflux: Introduction

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid Reflux Symptoms

Acid Reflux Causes

How to Get Rid of Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux Treatment

Acid Reflux Prevention

Acid Reflux Diet

Acid Reflux FAQ

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What Is Acid Reflux?