Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux

December 7, 2014

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama, who had medical tests on Saturday after complaining of a sore throat, is suffering from acid reflux, the president’s physician said.

“The president’s symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly,” Obama’s doctor, Captain Ronny Jackson, said in a statement.

Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach contents flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing such symptoms as heartburn and sore throat.

Obama, 53, went to Walter Reed military hospital for a fiber optic exam of his throat and since swelling was detected, doctors decided to perform a CT scan as well, Jackson said.

“The CT scan was conducted this afternoon purely as a matter of convenience for the President’s schedule. The CT scan was normal,” Jackson added.

Jackson said he recommended Obama go to Walter Reed for the tests after the president complained of suffering from a sore throat over the past couple of weeks.

Jackson did not give any cause for Obama’s case of the illness. There are many risk factors for acid reflux, including smoking, use of alcohol and hiatal hernia, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Most people respond to lifestyle changes and medicines, although many patients need to continue on medication to control their symptoms.

Click here to read the full article "Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux" on Reuters.com.

Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, is one of the primary risk factors associated with esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

It is imperative that people who suffer from heartburn more than twice weekly speak to their doctor.   There are no routine or standard screening tests for esophageal cancer.  Unfortunately, symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing or food getting stuck, typically appear once the cancer has advanced and becomes difficult to treat.

Chronic and severe acid reflux can significantly damage the esophagus.  Not only can it increase the risk of esophageal cancer, but it can lead to other serious health problems, such as ulcers, bleeding and scarring.

Lifestyle changes can help to reduce GERD symptoms.  Click here for some tips to control your acid reflux.

Some medications help to temporarily alleviate GERD symptoms.  However, these medications are typically not intended to be taken for an extended periods of time.  Remember to read the label on these medications and consider the side effects.

Some patients may be candidates for nonsurgical, less invasive options to treat GERD.

As advocates for esophageal health and the prevention of esophageal cancer, we urge everyone suffering from chronic heartburn to consult a medical professional.  Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and options.

 


Support Esophageal Cancer Awareness This #GivingTuesday

December 2, 2014

giving tuesday periwinkle esophageal cancer the salgi esophageal cancer research foundation

Today is Giving Tuesday! The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is honored to participate in this third annual event.  In 2012, a group of nonprofit professionals decided to create an annual day of giving.  They positioned it around the biggest days of consuming, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday opens the giving season and with your help, we will raise funds to spread awareness, encourage early detection and support research of esophageal cancer…in hopes of a cure.™  

How can you help make Giving Tuesday a success?

  • Help us get the word out on social media by visiting and liking our pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram;
  • Consider a donation: SALGI.org/donate, as a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations are tax-deductible;
  • Share photos of your loved ones who have been affected by esophageal cancer on social media. Tag us in the photos and we’ll re-post them on our pages;
  • Invite your co-workers, family members and friends to contribute by using the message below via social media or email:

 

I am supporting The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation today on Giving Tuesday and I hope you will, too!  [Optional: Insert personal story/reason for helping.]  Did you know esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute? You can support awareness and research efforts by making a tax-deductible donating online: SALGI.org/donate, and by sharing this information with your friends, family and colleagues by email or on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Thank you in advance!

 

Giving Tuesday helps to unite us in the spirit of giving and to bring a spotlight to esophageal cancer, a cause that needs desperate attention.  Let’s make this Giving Tuesday a great success! Thank you in advance for helping to make a difference today and every day.


Thanksgiving Tips to manage GERD

November 26, 2014

The holidays are a wonderful time of year when family and friends can gather together, share thanks and enjoy an abundant feast filled with our favorite foods.  Certain habits can cause some unwanted holiday heartburn.  Learn how to enjoy the holidays and all of the delicious foods while managing your acid reflux symptoms.

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Here are a few tips for you to take with you to the Thanksgiving dinner table:

  1. Limit beverage consumption while eating.  Sometimes fluids, especially carbonated beverages, can cause more gas in the stomach when combined with food intake. Try to drink slowly after you are done eating.

 

  1. Monitor what you are eating and avoid foods that trigger acid reflux.  Foods that have the worse effects on acid reflux are spicy, fatty, fried and citrus foods. Food and drinks that trigger GERD symptoms vary from person to person, so it is important to know your body and determine which are best for you.

 

  1. Limit or avoid alcohol.  There are some people, however, who should avoid all alcohol consumption, as even the smallest amounts can cause acid reflux. Alcohol increases the production of stomach acids. Alcohol also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that is in charge of keeping stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus.

 

  1. Don’t over-eat.  Ask for a smaller plate, take a small sample from each dish and choose “safe” foods that you’ve predetermined do not flare up your acid reflux symptoms. When you’re feeling tempted to overindulge, ask yourself “Is having that second helping of pumpkin pie worth the hours of pain and misery due to the acid reflux afterwards?”

 

  1. Chew slowly. Help your digestive system by chewing every bite slowly and thoroughly. Put your fork down in between bites to help remind yourself to go slow while eating.

 

  1. Wear loose clothing. Clothing which is tight especially around the mid-section can put extra pressure on the abdomen and increase acid reflux symptoms.

 

  1. Sit upright for several hours after you’ve eaten. Or better yet, take a leisurely family stroll around the neighborhood to help settle your stomach and aid digestion. Avoid any rigorous exercise, as it can upset the digestion process and cause reflux symptoms.

 

  1. Pass on the after-dinner coffee.  For some, coffee can increase acid reflux and cause symptoms to flare up.  Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have shown to aggravate GERD symptoms.

 

  1. Ditch all tobacco products.  Tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco not only worsens GERD symptoms, but it can cause people to develop GERD.   Like alcohol, tobacco weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and increases stomach acids.

 

 

While occasional heartburn is not typically a cause for concern, as billions of Americans experience heartburn at some point in their lives, heartburn that occurs more than twice weekly should not be taken lightly, as it could be an indicator of GERD.  GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease which is a disease of the digestive system.

 

Also known as acid reflux disease, GERD is a progressive disease, which means that it worsens overtime, especially if it is not properly treated.  The reflux of acids from the stomach damages the lining of the esophagus and can cause major health problems, including an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing frequent or chronic heartburn or if your acid reflux symptoms are worsening.

If you, or someone you know, has GERD, RefluxMD has put together an eBook that is surely a must-read!  To download a FREE copy of I Have GERD, Now What?”, click here.

 

From all of your friends at The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, we wish you a happy, healthy and heartburn-free Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Sources:

 

 


Make a Difference This Holiday Season

November 26, 2014

As the holiday season approaches, you are getting ready to spend time with loved ones, exchange gifts and celebrate the season and all of its joys. It is also a wonderful time of year to share our important mission with everyone that you know. We at The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation understand how valuable your time is; especially during the next few months. Here are a few simple yet powerful ways to take a stand against esophageal cancer during the holidays.

GERD Awareness Week

During your Thanksgiving preparations and feast, take time to spread the message regarding the dangerous link between chronic heartburn and esophageal cancer.  GERD Awareness Week occurs annually on the week of Thanksgiving.  This year GERD Awareness Week starts on Sunday November 23 and ends on Saturday November 29th.

While it is tempting to indulge in our favorite holiday foods and then sometimes even experience a little heartburn, it is certainly a cause for concern if heartburn occurs more than what doctors consider normal, which is twice a week or more. You might be surprised how many people still do not know of the dangers associated with chronic heartburn, also known as GERD or acid reflux disease. Remember, chronic heartburn that is not properly treated can increase the risk of esophageal cancer.  Learn more about GERD and what you can do to promote this important week on our “GERD Week” page.

 

Memorial and Tribute Gifts

During this season of joy, we ask that you remember us and consider a memorial or tribute donation as a gift to your loved ones. Your donations go directly to our mission of raising awareness, encouraging early detection and funding research of esophageal cancer in hopes of a cure. The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation will send a letter of acknowledgement to your loved one, notifying them of your gift donation.  To make a memorial or tribute donation, click here.

 

AmazonSmile

When you shop AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to our charity each time a purchase is made. This is one of the most effortless ways to give back during the holiday season.  Skip the chaos and crowds on Black Friday, shop online in the convenience of your own home all while supporting this mission. Don’t forget Cyber Monday! AmazonSmile will have even more deals for the holidays on Monday, December 1, 2014, to help you raise even more for esophageal cancer research without spending any extra money. Encourage everyone you know to shop AmazonSmile and select us as your charity to support. AmazonSmile can be done year-round, too. Use this link each and every time you shop on Amazon. Click here!

 

#GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. This year, on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, you can join us and together we can celebrate this day in honor of everyone who has been affected by esophageal cancer. Encourage everyone you know to make a donation using this link: SALGI.org/donate. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday along with #EsophagealCancer on social media and tag us in your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Connect with us using the buttons below and share this life-saving mission with everyone you know!

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The Lower Esophageal Sphincter; An Important Muscle You Didn’t Know You Had.

August 14, 2014

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a risk factor of esophageal cancer, is also known as “acid reflux disease” or “chronic heartburn.”  GERD occurs when stomach acids flow backwards into the esophagus.

The culprit?  Your lower esophageal sphincter (LES).  

The LES is a ring of muscle that open to allow food and drink to pass into the stomach from the mouth.

A normal functioning LES then closes to keep those contents inside the stomach to allow for digestion. When the LES is damaged, it becomes weak and relaxes, allowing stomach acids and contents to flow back up into the esophagus. This “reflux” symptom is known as heartburn.

Lower esophageal sphincter (LES), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Esophageal cancer, heartburn, acid reflux, reflux, chronic heartburn, awareness, education

While not all GERD sufferers experience this symptom (heartburn), people who do suffer from heartburn more than twice a week should speak with their doctor.

It has not been clearly established what causes the LES to become damaged. However, doctors have indicated that pressure on the midsection caused by obesity, frequently eating large meals and hiatal hernia can damage this important muscle.

Overtime, the reflux of stomach acids damages the lining of the esophageal wall and can cause the cells to become abnormal and potentially lead to esophageal cancer.  This change in the cells, which line the lower part of the esophageal wall, is known as Barrett’s esophagus, a sometimes precancerous condition. However, Barrett’s esophagus isn’t the only precursor to esophageal cancer.

There are no standard or routine screenings to detect esophageal cancer in its earlier stages, when the tumors can be better treated. Unfortunately, symptoms such as difficulty swallowing and food getting stuck typically appear once the cancer has spread. When esophageal cancer is diagnosed at later stages, there is a poor survival rate, as treatment options are limited and mostly used to treat cancer symptoms, not towards curing the cancer. Stage IV has a survival rate of only 3.8%. The earlier esophageal cancer is detected, the better chances for survival.

It is imperative that patients suffering from chronic and frequent heartburn be proactive and talk to their doctor. For some, lifestyle changes can help to alleviate GERD symptoms. Others may need to take medications (Please read the label on the bottle! Most medications are recommended to be taken no longer than for 8 to 12 weeks.) Some patients may be candidates for nonsurgical, less invasive options to treat GERD.

It is extremely important that patients speak to with their doctor about tests to screen for esophageal cancer.   Remember, early detection saves lives!  Feel free to share this information with your family and friends. We’ve included social media buttons below to make sharing simple.

Donations are what fuel awareness programs and research projects working to find a cure for esophageal cancer.  All donations are tax-deductible and can be made online.

Click here to make a one-time or recurring donation.  Thank you in advance for joining us in this mission to save lives and find a cure!

 

Sources:
Cancer.gov
Cancer.org
RefluxMD.com

How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?

January 28, 2014

 Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy

During this procedure, a doctor uses an endoscope to see the upper GI tract which consists of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine.  An endoscope is a lightweight, flexible, hollow instrument equipped with a lens which allows the doctor to see these internal parts.  Examining the esophagus, the doctor is looking for any abnormalities; inflammation, areas which have been irritated, abnormal growths or cancer. The procedure is generally preformed while a patient is under sedation.  Sedation is not required for all patients as some receive minimal to no sedation.   Doctors utilize endoscopy procedures to also detect ulcers, abnormal growths in the stomach or first part of small intestines, bowel obstructions or hiatal hernias.  There are small risks associated with an endoscopy such as bleeding, tissue infection and tears in the gastrointestinal tract.  These are rare instances, the Mayo Clinic reports that the latter occurs in about three to five out of every 10,000 upper endoscopies.

X-Ray

Also, known as a barium swallow or esophagram, is an upper gastroentestional series of X-rays used to examine the esophagus for any abnormal conditions.  This test requires patient to drink a thick liquid that temporarily coats the lining of the esophagus.  This will highlight the lining of the esophagus clearly on the X-rays to help better detect any abnormality.

Biopsy

If during an endoscopy, doctors finds any suspicious tissue, they will use an endoscope (defined above) passed down the throat into the esophagus to collect a sample of the tissue.  This tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory which will look for cancer cells.

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Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is often detected late because symptoms do not occur until the cancer has progressed. 

This is why we stress the importance of speaking to your doctor about your frequent GERD symptoms and discuss the different ways in which they can be controlled.  For many, lifestyle changes, such as monitoring food and beverage ‘reflux triggers’ and losing weight, can help alleviate acid reflux.  (Click here to read more tips on how to manage acid reflux.)

Too often, esophageal cancer is diagnosed at advanced and/or incurable stages due to the late onset of symptoms. This makes the cancer difficult if not impossible to treat and often results in 80% of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer dying within the first year.

Let’s work together to change the statistics regarding esophageal cancer.  If you are experiencing frequent acid reflux, consult your doctor and be sure to also share this message with your family and friends.  Click on the share buttons below to spread the word and save lives!

 

 

Gastro.net.au
MayoClinic
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 

November is GERD Awareness Month!

November 5, 2013

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is among a handful of risk factors associated with the development of esophageal cancer.   Many experience heartburn, with too many experiencing heartburn on a regular basis.  If not treated properly, heartburn can be very damaging, leading to a number of diseases, including esophageal cancer.

November is ‘GERD Awareness Month’!  Our friends at The Miriam Hospital published an article regarding GERD and “What you need to know!”

Brett Kalmowitz, MD, gastroenterologist at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital says: “Heartburn or acid indigestion is the most common symptom of GERD.” Kalmowitz further explains that “heartburn is a burning chest pain that begins behind the breastbone and moves upward to the neck and throat. It can last as long as two hours and is often worse after meals. Lying down or bending over after a meal can also contribute to heartburn.”

Raising awareness for GERD is such an important step in the fight against esophageal cancer.   Remember to share this post with your friends, family and social media sites, too!  Use the links at the bottom to post, tweet, email and pin directly from this page.

To read The Miriam Hospital’s full article, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), click here.

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