Selasa, 27 Desember 2011

An Explanation of Acid Reflux and it's Affects

Acid reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease, is an ailment of the upper digestive system wherein the stomach releases the contents of digestion back up into the esophagus. The causes of acid reflux disease relate to a partial break down of certain bodily responses which control acid regurgitation, and typically occur as the body gets older or during significant hormonal events.

Another major contributor is when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), weakens allowing the contents of the stomach to seep into the esophagus causing discomfort and pain. Being familiar with a few of the processes associated with GERD can greatly assist you in understanding this disease and why it occurs in many individuals.

Esophageal reflux actually occurs in many people as a natural side effect of digestion. In those persons who do not exhibit GERD symptoms, the body's methods of defense against damaging levels of acid in reflux are adequate to prevent issues. These defenses include sufficient levels of bicarbonate production in saliva coupled with consistent swallowing, an upright position to allow for acid and other digestive fluids to flow back down the esophagus, and an overall reduced level of acid in reflux. Refluxing constantly, with a high amount of acid present, and the inability for refluxed acid to either be neutralized in the esophagus or to flow back down, is what leads to the actual symptomatic ailments of GERD.

Most esophageal refluxes contain a mixture of pepsin, stomach acid, and, in some cases, bile. While bile and pepsin may have effects on the esophagus, the one sure culprit is, of course, stomach acid. The reasons why some people have inflammatory symptoms and other don't is not yet known. The only thing that can be said is that those who suffer from GERD lack the natural processes to reduce acid levels consistently.

Those who suffer from GERD have most of their episodes at night, as this owes to the body's non-upright posture. Without a proper upright posture swallowing can't happen, any reflux can't adequately flow back down the esophagus and the overall production of saliva is reduced. These combine to increase acidity of stomach acids, and worsen GERD symptoms. So it's always a good idea to take any medication before you go to sleep.

Unfortunately, if you suffer from GERD you are most likely going to have it the rest of your life. With consistent symptoms and associated discomfort comes the need for consistent treatment. These treatment schedules can sometimes be tailored to only be administered when symptoms begin, but in most cases acid blockers and the like will have to be take indefinitely.

Some GERD symptoms are transient, however, and a good example of this is a woman who is pregnant. Pregnant women have been known to experience episodes of acid reflux without consistent symptoms. This can be explained by the pressure that occurs on the abdomen the growing child.

This theory extends into the prevalence for those that are overweight and have large amounts of visceral, or organ, fat to also be predominantly susceptible to GERD, as the increase abdominal pressure from added fat stores can force additional acid up the esophagus.

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