Everything you need to know about the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease - Hindustan Times
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Everything you need to know about the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

ByAbigail banerji
Feb 18, 2024 08:51 PM IST

One of the most common digestive diseases and in India, around 20-30% of the population is said to suffer from this condition.

In today’s day and age, with the food consumed, lifestyle diseases plague many people. One such condition is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, which is a condition where the stomach acid regularly flows back aka refluxes into the food pipe and causes irritation and inflammation. As it is one of the most common digestive diseases, in India, around 20-30% of the population is said to suffer from this condition.

GERD is a lifestyle disease caused by eating unhealthy or acidity food(Pexels )
GERD is a lifestyle disease caused by eating unhealthy or acidity food(Pexels )

Dr Amol Dahale - Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, says, “In GERD, normally your gastric content, which is basically a lot of acids, regurgitates into the oesophagus where it can cause a lot of damage.”

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GERD is a lifestyle disease caused by eating unhealthy or acidity food(Pexels )
GERD is a lifestyle disease caused by eating unhealthy or acidity food(Pexels )

GERD is caused by the loosening of the esophageal sphincter, which is present between the lower-end food pipe and the stomach. Dr Bir Singh Sehrawat, Director and HOD-Gastroenterology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad, says, “It's a structural defect and it becomes more prominent when a person gains weight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.”

Some people, who have underlying issues like rheumatoid arthritis are more at risk of developing GERD. It can also aggravate bronchial asthma and bronchitis in the long run it can cause ulcers in the oesophagus, which is painful and may even cause oesophageal cancer.

Dr Pavan Dhoble, Consultant – Gastroenterology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mahim, says, “This disease can have an adverse impact on the daily lives of affected individuals, as it can interfere with physical activity and impair their social functioning and reduce productivity at work.”

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In this disease, the acidic contents of the stomach get moved back into our food pipe or oesophagus. Because of this, it causes multiple symptoms. Sometimes it can lead to ulcers into the food pipe.

Symptoms

The feeling of food particles coming back inside the mouth or inside the food pipe,

burning sensation in the chest especially the middle area,

pain or difficulty in swallowing,

vomiting,

Chronic cough,

Sore throat,

Horse voice

pain in upper abdomen,

People can develop laryngitis, aggravating bronchial asthma and bronchitis,

Heartburn

Which age group of people are affected by GERD?

Traditionally, GERD is found in middle-aged and older people, the reason being that with age becasue the body’s muscles become relaxed and acid reflux is more common. However, Dr. Pavan Dhoble, Consultant, Gastroenterology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim, says, “Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of younger patients, especially those within the age range of 30–39 years, who have come to us with GERD.” This lifestyle disease is also being spotted among school going children, which is cause for concern.

Avoid fatty and fried foods(Pexels)
Avoid fatty and fried foods(Pexels)

Foods to avoid if you have GERD

Fried and fatty foods

Peppermint

Chocolate

Alcohol

Citrus fruit and juices

Tomato products

Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks

Lifestyle changes

The good news is that GERD can be cured! There are several levels of treatments that one can opt for, As a lifestyle-related disease, tweaking your way of life is the most important way to say goodbye to this disease. Dr Amol Dahale, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, says, “Do not lie down immediately after eating. Set a fixed time for all your meals and stick to it. Eating food late at night can also lead to GERD.” When you do lie down in bed to sleep, keep your head raised by around six inches by adding thicker or multiple pillows under your head. Other changes include putting a stop to smoking and alcohol consumption, along with cutting down on carb-heavy and oily foods from your diet and even losing weight.

If, after making all these modifications, you aren’t finding any relief, Dr. Bir Singh Sehrawat, Director and HOD-Gastroenterology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad, says that there are “several medications, including syrups and tablets” that can be prescribed for people who are suffering from severe cases of GERD that will help to decrease the amount of acid in your stomach. “Other therapies include endoscopic therapy or surgery that is advised and can give you long-lasting results,” he adds.

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