15 June 2012
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Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid that unusually travels backwards up into the esophagus.  About thirty three percent of people in the United States have some sort of acid reflux. Acid reflux can also cause heart burn for most people. Heart burn is when acid indigestion is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone or in the epigastrium. Acid reflux is one of the most expensive chronic gastrointestinal disorders. If acid reflux is not carefully monitored or treated correctly it can lead to other health problems.

Hiatal hernia is a common cause of acid reflux. Hiatal hernia is a stomach abnormality disease. It occurs when the muscle that separates your stomach from your chest and moves about the diaphragm. The diaphragm keeps acid in your stomach and if it is moved and you have a hiatal hernia acid moves up into your esophagus and causes symptoms of acid reflux disease. Some common risk factors of acid reflux is eating large meals and then lying down afterwards, being overweight, and eating certain foods. Smoking, drinking certain drinks, and being pregnant can also result in acid reflux. The two most popular symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn and regurgitation. Some other symptoms include bloating, burping, hiccups, and nausea. It may also result in weight loss for no reason and chronic sore throat.

If you experience any of the acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week you should get medical assistance. Heartburn is the number one clue for the diagnosis of acid reflux disease. To be diagnosed with acid reflux you may have to do one or a few tests. The first test that is normally done for a patient is the barium swallow. It checks for ulcers and checks for narrowing of the esophagus. During this test you swallow a solution to help structures show up on an x-ray. Another test that is done is called an esophageal manometry. It checks for the function of the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter. pH monitoring can also help in checking for acid reflux. It checks the acid in your esophagus. An endoscopy is used to check for problems in the stomach or esophagus. This test is done by inserting a tube down your throat.

If acid reflux is not treated it can last for months. Acid reflux can be treated with over the counter medication or prescribed medication. Histamine2-receptor antagonists are known as acid suppressants. They are one of the most common treatments used. It is used when they body is inflamed and it used to reduce acid production. Proton pump inhibitors are used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach by acting on the cells in the stomach wall that make the acid and release it. Over the counter medicines know as antacids are used to treat acid-related symptoms. It helps with heart burn or indigestion and it works by neutralizing the stomach acid. It is wise not to combine two or more medications at one time without you doctors guidance.

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