Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as GERD is a chronic disease that is scarring most of the adults in America. Almost 20% of American adults are affected by GERD. According to a survey held, it is known that in older people GERD symptoms are inevitably serious. Some of the worrisome symptoms include difficulty in swallowing of food, internal bleeding, heartburns, asthma, etc.
GERD is a chronic disease that affects the guts in the human body due to the incorrect relaxation movement of the sphincter muscle that is situated in the lower half of the esophagus. As a result, stomach acid (also known as bile) is ejected into the esophagus and makes one feel a bitter-tasting sensation in their mouth.
Also, when this stomach acid often comes back down the pipe, it damages many other organs along the way. Sometimes, the acid can even block the windpipe and lungs, causing suffocation in the process. Heartburn and acid reflux occurring more than two times a week, indicates you are suffering from GERD.
Complexities of GERD
The points mentioned below are few complexities of GERD –
1. Barrett’s Esophagus
This occurs more commonly in people suffering from GERD. Esophagus, connecting the throat with the stomach has a moist mucous lining that allows the smooth flow of food from the food pipe. An individual suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus may have high chances of developing Esophagus cancer due to the damage of the Esophagus lining leading to the possible formation of cancer-causing cells.
The people who are suffering from frequently occurring GERD and obesity are at a high risk of becoming victims of Barrett’s Esophagus. Also, the intake of foods that cause GERD, excessive smoking leading to congestion, and unsanitary habits can call for this complexity soon.
2. Erosive Esophagitis
This is another dreadful complexity of GERD which is seen mostly in people suffering from obesity. Due to the excessive weight that their bodies carry, there is a great amount of acid irritation and inflammation. As a result, the esophagus gets injured leading to a condition called Erosive Esophagitis.
The following are the symptoms mostly seen in people with this complexity:
- Patients suffering from Erosive Esophagitis experience internal bleeding in their intestines, which is released in the form of dark-colored stools, and vomit that imparts a blood-like color.
- The ulcers in the Esophagus also lead to continuous bleeding episodes that result in Anemia due to the deficiency of iron. In this situation, the victim needs to constantly visit a medical professional and be prescribed proper medications.
3. Esophagus Stricture
Esophageal Stricture is nothing but the narrowing of the hollow muscular Esophageal tube that occurs due to damage to the lining of the esophagus by stomach acid, bile, or any other irritants.
Though it is not really dreadful and does not lead to cancer-formation, it still causes a lot of difficulties while swallowing food or fluids. This complexity makes one experience major issues in leading their normal and regular life in peace.
Below are some symptoms that are mostly seen in people suffering from Esophageal stricture:
- It is harder to intake or swallow food
- Sudden or unplanned weight losses are noticeable
- A person often feels the sensation of heartburns and continuous hiccups
- While you are eating food, you experience a choking sensation in the chest
- Vomiting while eating the food or immediately after having the food.
4. Dental Disease
There are thousands of humans with GERD who face stomach acid or bile reflux into their mouth, resulting in the decaying and eventual vanishing of their tooth enamel. The people with GERD are more likely to have many tooth-related diseases and mouth swelling too due to the inefficiency of the functionality that saliva is supposed to provide.
The majority of people who are suffering from GERD also have a high chance of developing asthma. When the stomach acid or bile triggers into the Esophagus, a small amount of bile also enters into their mouth and the breathing airway too. Because of this bile entering into the windpipe, the person feels suffocated and struggles to inhale or exhale air comfortably. A better way of saying it is that, conscious efforts need to be put in breathing.
Reversing of GERD
Symptoms can be controlled or healed by taking up a proper diet and avoiding foods that increase the risk of GERD. From ancient periods to present days, Ayurveda says that food is the one factor that heals all kinds of body related problems. So, if a proper diet is maintained by victims of GERD they have a high possibility of controlling this disease.
Maintaining a proper diet controls this disease to an extent that even most medications would not be able to achieve –
Scroll down to have an idea regarding what foods must be eaten and what foods must not be eaten so that GERD damage can be reversed or regulated at its best –
Foods to be avoided:
It is recommended to avoid foods that trigger GERD by relaxing the lower esophagus muscles. Foods high in fat content and foods that are spicy can cause great amounts of inflammation and must be removed from your diet.
These foods include chocolate, coffee, and other caffeine-containing foods, oily foods, desserts, creamy salads, potato chips, gravy, salad dressing, fried foods or meals, onion rings, garlic, onions, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, jackfruits, grapes, tomatoes).
Also keep away from alcohol, carbonated beverages, peppermint, and milk.
Keeping away from these foods will surely not treat your GERD problem, but without a doubt, it will help you in reducing the existing GERD symptoms.
Foods to include in your diet:
It is safer to include foods that are rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, and probiotic content. Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats like monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, fiber-rich foods, etc.
These foods include eggs (only white part of the egg), apples, mangoes, bananas, pears, walnut oil, soybean oil, beans, tofu, sunflower oil, salmon, trout, avocados, walnuts, peanuts, ginger, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, oatmeal, yogurt, pickles, green bananas, etc.
So, one can heal or control the annoying symptoms of GERD by changing their lifestyle and administering themselves with a proper diet. GERD is a sensitive and unpleasant disease that can occur more than a couple of times a week.
However, if the symptoms are severe one has to improve their dietary habits, take effective medications, and treatment if necessary. Surgery is performed on the people whose GERD symptoms are severe and hard to control.
Sofia is an enthusiastic writer on health & nutrition topics. She has been working in this industry for more than five years now. Lately, she has started working as a freelance health writer to share the knowledge she has gained over the years. She also writes about health, fitness, lifestyle & nutrition. Other than his work, she loves playing outdoor sports.
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