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Acid Base Imbalance: Causes and Cure

About

Acid reflux (heartburn), also called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a common condition presenting itself as burning pain in the lower chest area. This happens when the acid from the stomach flows back up into the esophagus(food pipe).
More than 60 million Americans have trouble with reflux at least once every month. GERD affects 20-30% of the population.

  • GERD is usually a lifestyle disease
  • Cannot always be prevented

If left untreated, GERD can complicate into serious conditions such as Esophagitis, Strictures, or Barrett's esophagus in the long run. A case of GERD that is not preventable is a hiatal (or hiatus) hernia. Hiatus is a hole in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach to enter the chest cavity, sometimes leading to GERD.

  • Causes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Low levels of physical exercise
  • Medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, CC blockers, sedatives, etc
  • Pregnancy

Age affected
Affects all ages.

Symptoms

Self-diagnosable

  • Heartburn, regurgitation, and dyspepsia
  • A sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bloating, bloody or black stools
  • Vomiting
  • Burping
  • Hiccups that don't subside,
  • Nausea
  • Esophageal dysphagia.

Treatment

If acid indigestion symptoms occur more than twice a week, GERD is indicated.

Self-care

  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Avoid eating late
  • Avoid medications that irritate the food pipe and the stomach

Medication
PPIs, H2 blockers, antacids, and alginate drugs may be prescribed.

Specialists
Patients can consult a general physician or a gastroenterologist for diagnosis and care.
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