GERD Awareness Week: November 24-31, 2013

Thanksgiving, a time for family and friends to gather together, share their thanks and enjoy a delicious and abundant feast. During the holiday season, it can be easy to overindulge in favorite foods and subsequently, for many, to experience heartburn.

The week of Thanksgiving has been dedicated to raising awareness for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, known more commonly as GERD.

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Occasional heartburn does not typically cause major concern, as millions of Americans experience it at some point in their lives. However, persistent heartburn which typically occurs two or more times a week should not be taken lightly, as it could be a sign of chronic acid reflux or GERD.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “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 occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.

If not properly treated, long-term sufferers of GERD can develop serious medical conditions which include chronic cough or hoarseness, esophagitis, bleeding, scarring or ulcers of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus that can potentially raise the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

While esophageal cancer only makes up 2% of all cancer deaths in the United States, it has increased over 400% in the past 20 years and is one of the most lethal types of cancers; Stage IV has a daunting survival rate of only 5%. When caught in the early stages, patients have a higher rate of survival, as there are more treatment options available.

President of The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, whose father suffered from chronic acid reflux for years and passed away from esophageal cancer says “If you have frequent heartburn, don’t ignore it or just take a pill. Talk to your doctor about all of your options.”

To read the full article published in GoLocalProv click here: Healthy Living: GERD Awareness Week- November 24-30

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