GERD Awareness Week was first observed in 1999, and it has continued to grow in popularity over the last few years. During GERD Awareness Week, those who are experiencing GERD-like symptoms are encouraged to speak with a doctor or seek out more information on this common condition. Here is a closer look at just a few of the reasons why it is so important to catch and treat this common condition in its earliest stages.
Early Warning Signs
As GERD Awareness Week approaches, you should spend a few minutes researching some of the early warning signs of this condition. Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when acid from the stomach pushes its way into the esophagus, and that usually results in heartburn or sudden chest pain. Those symptoms often get worse after eating a large meal or just before going to sleep. Patients who experience those symptoms once or twice a week might be diagnosed with mild acid reflux. If the symptoms are severe or occur more than twice a week, then the patient will most likely be diagnosed with GERD.
What Causes GERD?
A small sphincter separates your esophagus from your stomach, and that sphincter is supposed to keep bile from flowing upward. Over the years, the sphincter may become damaged or no longer close properly. When that takes place, the acid will easily bubble up when your stomach is full or compressed. There are many different risk factors for GERD, including obesity, pregnancy, smoking, and the use of certain medications. Acute damage to the stomach or chest can cause GERD as well. If you believe that you might have GERD, then you should immediately contact our office to explore your treatment options. Untreated GERD can result in a wide variety of secondary complications, including esophageal cancer.
Diagnosing This Condition
Mild GERD is often diagnosed after a short conversation with the patient. We will go over your medical history and ask about all of your symptoms. We might also carry out a short physical examination to rule out other medical issues. If the symptoms seem severe, then a biopsy, X-ray, or pH test might be needed. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, we can come up with a comprehensive treatment plan to minimize the side effects and prevent long-term damage to the throat and mouth.
Treatment Options for GERD
With GERD Awareness Week coming up, it’s a great time to evaluate your overall health. Consult our team at Surgical Associates of South Florida in Miami to learn more information about GERD and our anti-reflux treatments and procedures. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.