What is Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease or Acid Reflux Disease?

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux disease is a chronic disease of digestive tract, where there is damage of mucosa of esophagus or food pipe due to reflux of stomach/gastric hydrochloric acid (and sometimes bile) to the esophagus. The acid reflux irritates and can cause inflammation or damage to esophageal mucosa. The most common symptom of acid reflux disease is heartburn.

The cause of acid reflux disease or cause of stomach acid reflux to esophagus is abnormal relaxation of lower esophageal sphincter (the sphincter generally remain closed to prevent stomach contents from entering esophagus). The lower esophageal sphincter (or LES) separates stomach from esophagus.

How common is GERD or acid reflux disease?

GERD affects approximately 5 per 1000 population per year in most developed countries. The actual figure may be much higher that this estimate. The prevalence rate is as high as 10%-20% of population.

When to see a doctor when you have acid reflux disease?

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is a common medical condition. Most of us suffer from GERD or acid reflux disease from time to time. When the signs and symptoms of acid reflux disease affect your daily life or they appear once or twice a week, it is time to consult a doctor. It is not difficult to manage GERD and many patients can be managed with lifestyle modification toward healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle modifications such as regular moderate exercise, eating meals timely and avoiding fast food can be of great help. There are also highly effective over-the-counter medications available, such as proton pump inhibitor drugs. There are also several home remedies available for Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux disease. Some individuals with acid reflux disease may require very long treatment and some may require surgery, especially those with frequent and serious signs and symptoms.

If you suffer from acid reflux disease occasionally, there is nothing to worry. However, if you suffer from it on a regular basis you should seek medical attention without delay, because there may be several complications of Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux disease and some are potentially serious complications.


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1 Comment

  • Joesph Mccaskill April 10, 2013 10.58 am

    hey, thanks for this post, very informative, since ma father have also gerd problem

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