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Acid Reflux – Memorial Medical Group – Belleville, IL


MMG Gastroenterologist Dr. Yazan Abu Qwaider
discusses acid reflux. What is acid reflux? Gastroesophageal reflux disease which is ejecting
of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. The stomach is an organ, we call it in medicine
low functional highly protective, because it digests food and it has high acid content. The esophagus on the other hand is low protective
highly functional, so it doesn’t have a lot of protection of the lining of the esophagus
from acid ejection from the stomach. So the acid ejects from the stomach into the
esophagus that’s what we call it reflux. What are the symptoms of acid reflux/GERD? The patient’s symptoms vary from feeling acid
coming up, in medicine in general we look at it as gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal
symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms, you know, usually
sometimesjust being sensation of like I said acid coming up and they throw it, etc, but
reflux disease goes beyond that. Examples are chronic sinus infection, chronic
sore throat, chronic cough, recurrent ear infections, these are all symptoms related
to different organs than gastroenterology. It belongs to ears, etc, so GERD, gastroesophageal
reflux disease, gives wide variety of symptoms. I’ve seen patients with chronic headaches
because of GERD. What are the long-term effects of acid reflux/GERD? 30 million people in the United States suffer
from reflux at least once a week. And the other important point of reflux is
we know number one risk factor for esophageal cancer is reflux disease besides family history
of esophageal cancer. So if patient have reflux disease for five
or more years, it is recommended that he or she undergo upper endoscopy to look at the
lining of the esophagus. What can happen, the lining of the esophagus
replaced by lining which are highly protective because the esophagus trying to protect itself. Thus lining that puts patients at risk of
esophageal cancer. In medicine, we call it Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is precancerous condition. Usually we find it in patients who suffered
from reflux for five or more years. What if we find Barrett’s or change in the
lining, typically the recommendation is upper endoscopy every couple or three years. We’ll go back take random biopsies or samples
and we will look at them again. And the important factor here is controlling
symptoms because also studies show that better control of reflux symptoms reduces the progression
of Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal cancer. So my goal is one make sure I keep eye on
my patients with changing the lining or wear who have Barrett’s esophagus and controlling
their symptoms. And there are different medications that we
can use to control the symptoms in different doses and again that goes back to every individual
patient.

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