Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week

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By Diane Forrest, RN

"It was a Monday, and I felt uncomfortable in class. Tuesday rolled around and I was too sick to attend school. A visit to the doctors only resulted in "a virus" so I was told to stay home until I felt better. Too bad I didn’t feel better! As my absences started piling up, I tried to go back to school. But I wasn’t able. Two weeks and 3 doctors’ appointments later I was diagnosed with GERD. I am 16, and I was told to make lifestyle changes such as cutting out dairy, greasy foods, spicy foods, chocolate, soda, and any citrus foods. Do you know how hard this is? I don’t think people are aware how crazy this is, unless you have to deal with it. I will forever have to deal with this, and I don’t even know how I will. I can't imagine my life without chocolate. This was a story submitted on www.aboutgerd.com. 

What is GERD?  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

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Some factors that can cause GERD are:
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Alcohol
  • Scleroderma

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Some of the signs include:
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of food stuck behind the breastbone


Treatment includes:
  • Lifestyle changes, such as changing the foods you eat, or sleeping habits
  • Antacids or prescription medications
  • Take Tylenol only for pain relief.


Expectations:

Most people respond to lifestyle changes and medications. However, many patients need to continue taking drugs to control their symptoms.

For more information about GERD click on this site:  http://www.aboutgerd.org/

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