GERD Awareness Week

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time to start thinking about how your dinner may lead to symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from GERD, making it one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions in the United States. GERD is not the same thing as acid reflux or heartburn, though these terms are often used interchangeably.

Acid reflux, which also occurs as a symptom of GERD, involves stomach acid flowing up from your stomach into your esophagus, leading to a burning sensation in your chest. Heartburn causes a similar burning sensation in the same area. Chocolate, tomato sauce, coffee, alcohol, dried foods, and spicy foods, as well as large meals in general, can cause these symptoms to flare up.

If you have GERD or often suffer from acid reflux or heartburn after a meal, there are a variety of prescription and nonprescription medications you can rely on to help manage your symptoms this Thanksgiving. These medications, including antacids, H-2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors, reduce or negate the effects of stomach acid on your esophageal tissue by neutralizing it or reducing its production.

If medication fails to help manage your symptoms, there are surgical treatments available for GERD, including fundoplication (a minimally-invasive procedure that prevents reflux) or a LINX device implant (which blocks reflux while allowing food to pass through the junction of the stomach and esophagus).

As a long-term condition, GERD can contribute to your risk of developing other medical problems. Repeated contact with stomach acid can cause your esophageal tissue to become inflamed, develop ulcers, and even experience precancerous changes.

Don’t let GERD stop you from enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with your family. You can schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to get started on your treatment by calling (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Relationship Between Asthma and GERD

There is strong evidence that a relationship exists between asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to research, more than 75 percent of people living with asthma have GERD. The reason for this is not certain but studies show a relationship between stomach acid and airways.

GERD which is the reverse flow of stomach acid into the esophagus seems to worsen asthma. One explanation as to why this happens may involve stomach acid which flows back in to the esophagus irritating the throat, the airways and the lungs. It is also a possibility that the acid affects a nerve in the esophagus which causes the lungs to tighten.

Ways to avoid the effects of GERD include:

  • Raising the head of the bed by 6 inches to keep stomach acid from flowing back in to the esophagus
  • Waiting three to four hours after eating a meal before laying down
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Keeping your weight under control
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoid eating fatty food, chocolate, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomato sauce,  coffee, tea, or alcohol before laying down

Speak to your physician about treatment options that may be best for you. You can also schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling .

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.