Acid reflux is a prevalent disease characterized by heartburn due to regurgitation of food content form the stomach to the esophagus. This disease can be influenced by a lot of factors such as body position, types of food, and timing of the food.
There is a general confusion about the difference between acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GER D is diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice in a week. if the frequency of your acid reflux is less than twice a week you cannot be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Acid reflux involves the regurgitation of hydrochloric acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Acid reflux is one of the posts prevalent gastrointestinal diseases in America. It has been discovered that about 15 million Americans experience heartburn daily and about 60 million Americans experience heartburn for at least once every month. This condition is very common in developed countries such as America and Canada compared to GERD which is more common in western countries.
Acid reflux can also be called indigestion, heartburn or pyoris depending on the severity and accompany signs and symptoms. It is frequently characterized as a burning sensation in the lower chest that occurs after eating. There are different factors that predispose an individual to develop acid reflux and GERD. Obesity and smoking are the most prevalent etiology of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Causes and Risk Factors for Acid Reflux
The major pathophysiology of acid reflux is an improper function of the gastroesophageal sphincter. The gastroesophageal sphincter as the name implies is a sphincter between the gastrum (Stomach) and the esophagus. This sphincter prevents the regurgitation of food contents from the stomach to the esophagus. Failure or improper functioning of this sphincter is the major etiology of acid reflux and gastroesophageal sphincter. There are a lot of risk factors that can predispose you to develop acid reflux and GERD. The most common risk factors include:
- Existing Hernia: This is a Medical condition characterized by an abnormal hole in the diaphragm, which allows food contents to move from the upper part of the stomach to the esophagus. People with this medical condition are predisposed to having acid reflux and GERD.
- Obesity: This is the most common lifestyle predisposing factors for most of gastrointestinal. Cardiovascular and respiratory The increased fat deposit could lead to regurgitation of hydrochloric acids from the stomach to the esophagus
- Smoking: Active or passive smokers are more susceptible to acid reflux and GERD due to decreased immunity and the altered physiological process of the body.
- Sedentary Lifestyles: People with a sedentary lifestyle and low level of physical activity are predisposed to having acid reflux and GERD. This is the most common etiology of these diseases in developed countries.
- Medications: Some medications such as anti-histamine, anti-depressant, painkillers, sedatives, calcium channel blockers and asthma treating drugs predispose people to have acid reflux and GERD.
- Pregnancy: The excessive pressure placed on internal organs in a pregnant woman could cause acid reflux or gastro-esophageal disease.
- Dietary Lifestyles: Some Foods and drinks such as coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, acidic drinks, low fiber and high-fat contents foods could lead to gastro-esophageal reflux Some dietary lifestyles such as eating a large meal or lying down 2-3 hours postprandial could cause acid reflux.
Best Acid Reflux Treatments and Pills
The major tactics of treating acid reflux and gastro-esophageal diseases are dietary lifestyle changes, conservative treatment (drugs or pills) and surgical treatment. The dietary lifestyle changes involve eating a balanced diet and not lying down 1-3 hours postprandial. The best pills and drugs for treating acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux include:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): This drug class reduces hydrochloric acid production by the stomach which is the major etiology of acid reflux and gastro-esophageal diseases. This drug reduces the acid produced by the stomach hereby lowering the risk of regurgitation and acid reflux. Examples of these drugs include omeprazole and esomeprazole.
- H2 receptor Blockers: H2 antagonists or H2 receptors blockers are a group of drugs that block the histamine receptors of the stomach’s parietal The parietal cells of the stomach are responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid. Examples of these drug classes include cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac).
- Over the Counter Drugs (OTC):: The most common OTC used in treating acid reflux and gastro-esophageal diseases is antacids.
- Alginate drugs: Some alginates drugs such as Gaviscon can use to form a protective layer over the stomach to prevent reflux of acid into the esophagus.
When conservative therapy proves to be ineffective, surgical treatment such as Fundoplication could be done in cases of severe acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
7 Natural Remedies for Treating Acid Reflux
- Baking Soda: A mixture of 1poon of baking soda and 8 ounces of water per serving can help in alleviating the heartburn symptoms of acid reflux. Do not take more than 7 servings.It is not advisable to use this therapy for more than 1 week.
- Gum: Chewing gums for 3o minutes post pandrial stimulates saliva secretion which washes down and regurgitated hydrochloric acids.
- Fruits: Eating banana and apple before bedtime reduces the risk of acid reflux in people.
- Posture: Don’t lie down immediately or 1-3 hours after eating. Sit a little bit elevated or support yourself with a pillow if you choose to lie down 1-3 after eating.
- Ginger Tea: Drinking ginger 30 minutes before bedtime has been discovered to reduce the risk of acid reflux and gastroesophageal
- Mustard: 1 teaspoon of mustard would do a lot of magic when you have heartburns or other acid reflux signs and symptoms.
- Chamomile tea: A cup of bland chamomile tea or mixed with honey reduces stress which is one of the primary etiology of heartburn. Reduction in heartburn helps in alleviating the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.
Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease can be treated with dietary changes, Natural remedies, conservative treatment and surgical treatment.
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