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GERD: A burning healthcare disorder affecting crores

15th Jul, 2020
GERD: A burning healthcare disorder affecting crores

A simple google search on GERD shows it’s a very common healthcare disorder and occurs in more than 10 million Indians every year. A study shows 8-20 % of Indians suffer from GERD*. Some might say it is due to the oily and spicy food that we intake or the lazy lifestyle we might lead. However, the problem at hand is that many of us suffer from this disease and yet we leave it untreated.

Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic disease that occurs when the contents of the stomach repeatedly flow backwards into the esophagus (food pipe). The common symptoms that a person might have are heartburn, chest pain, food coming back in mouth, sensation of a lump in throat, chronic cough and disturbed sleep. Heartburn or acid reflux are the most common symptoms that are often confused with heart attack or plain acidity. Ignoring these for a long term may also lead to major complications such as cancer. Here are few of the important things you should know about GERD.

Who are at risk?

One might often suffer from GERD if they are obese, are in their advancing age, or are pregnant. Some of the lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking or eating tobacco, eating large portions of meal, eating late at night, including lots of junk, oily and spicy food in the diet, or consuming excess amount of tea or coffee can lead to frequent bouts of GERD. Taking certain medications frequently such as Aspirin can also be attributed to suffering from GERD.

What are the complications associated with GERD?

In severe GERD cases, the complications might include-

  • Barret’s Esophagus – It is a condition where the swallowing tube that connects the mouth and the stomach becomes damaged by acid reflux.
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Inflammation and swelling of esophagus
  • Esophageal narrowing

How can one prevent GERD?

GERD can be easily prevented by following the basic steps-

  • Do not go to bed with a full stomach
  • Do not overeat
  • Eat slowly and do not rush
  • Avoid trigger foods such as – peppermint, caffeine containing foods, citrus fruits, high-fat food and spicy food items
  • Lose the excess weight
  • Stop smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco
  • In case the symptoms persist, consult a doctor

Heartburn and acid reflux are some of the common healthcare disorders one experiences during their lives. While there are multiple treatment options available to treat, many of them are unaware of the dangers of GERD and what it can lead to. The best way for protection is to educate yourself, not to ignore the symptoms and consulting the experts.

*Natl J Community Med 2014; 5(2):214-218

Read more stories here:

  1. Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. launches Eciloc for treatment of hyperacidity
  2. GERD in glimpses



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