Gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD), is the medical term for what we know as acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when your stomach shifts the liquid that is found inside of it back up into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the esophageal lining. The acid that is regurgitated most often consists of a few compounds: bile, acid, and pepsin.
Stomach acid is used in the digestion of food and can be a key irritant to the esophagus due to its tendency to damage tissues. Bile is made in the liver and may be backed up into the stomach, causing it to be released by acid reflux. Pepsin, the last common compound, is really an enzyme that kick-starts the stomach into breaking down proteins.
Once a person becomes troubled by acid reflux, they usually face the disease for the rest of their lives. Esophagitis that is caused by acid reflux can also be expected to be a life-long problem. Once treatment for acid reflux has commenced, a patient is usually advised to continue taking the medication for as long as they want to prevent the disease from affecting them.
Happens to Everyone
You might be surprised to learn that everyone actually experiences such regurgitation regularly, as a research study found. However, those who are afflicted with acid reflux do have a higher acid content in the fluid that is brought into the esophagus than the fluids of a person that doesnt have the disease. The fluid also often stays in the esophagus for longer periods of time in those who have acid reflux.
In order to prevent acid reflux from actually causing harm, our bodies do the best that they can. During hours in which a person is awake, reflux is usually taken care of by a simple swallow. Also, the saliva generated in our salivary glands contains bicarbonate, which is a neutralizing agent to the effects of acid. When we sleep, however, we are usually horizontal, causing acid to rest in the esophagus for more extended periods of time, leading to greater damage.
There are many reasons that someone may suffer from acid reflux, and the same person may experience several of the different problems throughout the course of their illness. Acid reflux leads to heartburn, which is pretty much the defining characteristic and symptom of reflux.
The pain felt through acid reflux can be similar to angina, which is a serious heart condition. For that reason, you should go to a doctor if you experience heavy heartburn to determine what the cause is.
Acid reflux is most usually experienced after eating a meal, since this is the period of time in which reflux is most likely. People who are afflicted with acid reflux may also experience full regurgitation of fluid, leaving a nasty taste in their mouth and esophageal damage.
Nausea occurs in some people with reflux, and it may be accompanied by full-out vomiting. Heartburn and nausea are the two most common reasons people discover that they are afflicted with reflux. If either of the symptoms sound like something you may be experiencing, its important to get a hold of a health care professional so they can help you to eliminate the problem.