Posts Tagged Reflux Complications

Common acid reflux drug could cause heart disease

By ANI | ANI – Sun 14 Jul, 2013

Washington, July 14 (ANI): A new study suggests that drugs that help millions of people cope with acid reflux may also cause cardiovascular disease.
It is the first time researchers have shown how proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, might cause cardiovascular problems.

In human tissue and mouse models, the researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital found PPIs caused the constriction of blood vessels.
If taken regularly, PPIs could lead to a variety of cardiovascular problems over time, including hypertension and a weakened heart.
In the paper, the scientists call for a broad, large-scale study to determine whether PPIs are dangerous.

“The surprising effect that PPIs may impair vascular health needs further investigation,” John Cooke, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator, said.
“Our work is consistent with previous reports that PPIs may increase the risk of a second heart attack in people that have been hospitalized with an acute coronary syndrome.
“Patients taking PPIs may wish to speak to their doctors about switching to another drug to protect their stomachs, if they are at risk for a heart attack,” he said.
The study is published in the journal Circulation. (ANI)


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What Do You Mean It’s Heartburn?

Think you know all there is to know about acid reflux and heartburn in Ft. Worth and Dallas?

What do you mean it’s heartburn?

Heartburn: it is that lingering sensation in the back of your chest that something is burning. As stomach acid escapes into your esophagus your esophageal lining becomes irritated, inflamed and generally unhappy. The result is a couple of hours of pure misery for you, often accompanied by regurgitation and indigestion.

So that’s all there is to know about heartburn right? Wrong. While heartburn strikes the majority of people in the same unhappy ways following an oversized or overly spiced meal, there are a handful of other symptoms that don’t get nearly as much attention as standard acid reflux. In fact, there are many people in Dallas and Ft. Worth with heartburn who don’t even realize it; remaining completely unaware of the source of the symptoms causing them such misery.

Think your sore esophagus is all there is to it? Think again. Here are a few lesser-known symptoms that are associated with heartburn and acid reflux in Ft. Worth and Dallas:

  • Bad taste in your mouth. Your meal went down tasting great, but the aftertaste is just the pits. And come to think of it, this is the aftertaste you got after breakfast too—and dinner last night. That isn’t a coincidence; that is acid reflux. A bitter taste in your mouth after eating is a common sign of stomach acid making it into your throat.
  • Lost voice. Hoarseness of voice often develops when stomach acid refluxes out of the esophagus and into the larynx, or voice box. The hoarseness may develop quickly after eating a large meal, or could linger and become chronic if you are experiencing frequent heartburn.
  • Sore throat. Maybe the stomach acid isn’t causing too much of a burning in your chest, but if the stomach acid reaches your throat it could cause this common flu like symptom. If your sore throat commonly develops after eating and comes back frequently it could be due to acid reflux.
  • Respiratory problems. Chronic coughing, trouble breathing and wheezing are all common signs of acid reflux. If the stomach acid reaches the lungs then these problems often occur, and can grow severe if left untreated.

These problems will most commonly develop in conjunction with the typical signs of acid reflux, though they can sometimes develop in lieu of the general signs of the disease. If you are experiencing a collection of these symptoms and think they may be related to acid reflux, then contact your GERD surgeon for more information about treatment options.

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Letting GERD Go Untreated Increases Risk of Esophageal Cancer

Letting GERD go untreated can increase your risk of esophageal cancer in Dallas or Ft. WorthIt is hard to link the development of a particular type of cancer to an exact cause. There are certain conditions that appear to increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, but the exact level of risk is often a debated detail. The link between heartburn and esophageal cancer has been debated for years.

Those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD are undoubtedly at an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer thanks to the irritation of the esophageal lining from constant exposure to stomach acids. However, the actual likelihood of someone developing esophageal cancer as a result of GERD has always been looked at as small. A team of researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles found that risk of esophageal cancer becomes much larger when heartburn, acid reflux and GERD go untreated, making surgical interventions like Nissen fundoplication in Ft. Worth and Dallas of even more importance.

Researchers at UCLA found that rates of esophageal cancer were six times larger in 2001 than they were in 1975. They partially attributed this increase in the condition to the increase in the amount of heartburn and acid reflux people experience as a result of obesity and following a poor diet. While a lot of people are turning to a GERD surgeon for relief, there are plenty of people avoiding treatment for the concern, thinking that heartburn and acid reflux are common enough problems that don’t require medical or surgical intervention. This is where the problem sets in when it comes to preventing esophageal cancer.

A diagnosis of GERD isn’t a prediction of getting esophageal cancer down the road, but it does increase your risk. The researchers at UCLA found that people who pursued treatment for their GERD and took steps to relieve heartburn and acid reflux were more successful at preventing esophageal cancer than those who resisted treatment early on.

One of the problems that many people run into is that it is hard to differentiate when a problem with heartburn has become something worse if you aren’t already receiving medical attention. A lot of people who develop esophageal cancer don’t experience any symptoms other than heartburn and acid reflux. If you aren’t willing to seek medical help for your chronic heartburn, early signs of cancer may go untreated as the disease continues to spread.

There are plenty of lifestyle habits that can make a small impact on the amount and severity of heartburn you are experiencing, but these dietary and exercise habits often aren’t enough to make real changes in the severity of GERD. Allowing your GERD to go untreated will only increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer, so it is in your best interest to seek treatment early on for regular heartburn and acid reflux.


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Stress—The Silent Heartburn Trigger

Don't let stress trigger heartburn in Dallas and Ft. WorthStress seems to be the cause of many ailments we experience, and now it’s time to add one more to its ever-growing list—heartburn. In case you don’t already know, our gastrointestinal health is weirdly and intimately connected to our emotions. So, stress not only exacerbates symptoms of heartburn, it can also aggravate symptoms of gastrointestinal esophageal disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux.

Though you may have already spoken to your GERD surgeon in Dallas or Ft. Worth about proper ways to treat your more serious symptoms of heart burn, it helps to have a little insight into how stress affects your burning insides.

Stress doesn’t necessarily affect all sufferers of GERD and heartburn, but for those it does, the reflux can be a real pain in the gut. Stress can potentially affect a wide range of stomach functions, and though patients who are under a lot of psychological stress may suffer from more acute symptoms of acid reflux, they may not necessarily have more severe reflux. But how can this be? Researchers have a few explanations as to why patients without large amounts of stomach acid in their esophagus may experience acute symptoms of reflux while under stress.

  • Some experts believe this correspondence may cause “hypervigilance.” In other words, hypervigilance is when stressed people become more sensitive and experience a greater awareness of physical symptoms.
  • Another theory researchers suggest is that stress may excite areas of the brain that ultimately make pain receptors in the esophagus more active. Though acid levels may not rise more in stressed people than in non-stressed people, stress can cause each drop of acid to become increasingly painful.
  • In addition to the above theories, it’s known that stressed people have dropped levels of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that helps coat the lining of the stomach and protect it from acid. The higher your stress levels, the lower your prostaglandin levels will be, leading to increased pain associated with heartburn and reflux.

Despite differences in theory, the connection between stress and acute symptoms of heartburn and GERD is prevalent and painful. There’s no magic bullet to eliminating stress but there are things you can do to help alleviate stress that may help minimize heartburn.

  • Increase your physical activity. Exercise typically functions as an excellent stress reducer, but it’s up to you to make more time for it. You don’t necessarily have to train for a marathon but you could spend 30 minutes each day walking or doing yoga to help relax your mind and body.
  • Participate in creative pursuits. Whether you enjoy painting, writing or playing music, all of these activities can potentially help you minimize stress and therefore help you gain control of your related heartburn pain.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol. Ditching these bad health habits can really go a long way in combatting stress.

If you’re experiencing a lot of stress, then make sure to avoid heartburn triggers that may exacerbate your related pain even more. If your symptoms become more frequent and severe, you may want to consider speaking to a GERD specialist.


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Silenced Voice of Heartburn

Talk to your GERD surgeon about heartburn in Dallas and Ft. WorthIf you are suffering from chronic acid reflux and heartburn in Dallas or Ft. Worth, then it may be wise for you to talk with your GERD surgeon while you still can. Still can talk, that is.

It may not be an obvious connection right away, but the larynx or voice box is located just behind the Adam’s apple at the front of the neck, right next to the opening of the esophagus. Over time, repeated acid reflux can irritate the larynx and prompt chronic laryngitis, a condition marked by hoarseness and difficulty talking. While most cases of laryngitis only last a day or so, chronic laryngitis could leave you miming around your home and office for a few weeks.

Have you ever taken a gulp of water when you were about to speak or laugh and ended up with water going down the wrong tube? That is because the esophagus is located right next to the trachea, or windpipe. When you breathe or speak, the air travels through the trachea. When you eat or drink, the food travels through the esophagus. When acid refluxes out of your stomach and into your mouth, the trachea may be fair game for inflammation and irritation—just as if your water went “down the wrong tube.”

Reflux Laryngitis

While laryngitis is a common condition, not everyone experiences it due to GERD. Other reasons you may develop laryngitis include yelling, smoking and breathing in toxic chemicals, dust or fumes. If you develop laryngitis with GERD, your physician will likely discuss the other potential causes as well to ensure that you are indeed experiencing reflux laryngitis.

In order to get your voice back, you need to begin treating the cause of the larynx irritation—the reflux. This may be done through the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications. Other lifestyle changes may also be recommended, including avoiding large meals, cutting out spicy and fried foods and losing weight. In serious cases GERD surgery may be indicated.

If you find yourself without a voice, then make sure to drink plenty of fluids. As tempting as it may be to whisper your way through your lost voice, you need to stay quiet and rest your larynx. Most of all, avoid foods that trigger more reflux. The goal is to reduce the inflammation in the larynx, and this won’t happen if it isn’t able to heal.

Chronic laryngitis may take some time to heal, but rest assured that your voice will come back. If you are coping with regular reflux and haven’t lost your voice yet, don’t take any risks. Laryngitis is more frustrating than it is painful, but your GERD surgeon Dr. Ihde can offer you some valuable tips to reduce your heartburn and reflux and prevent the problem from occurring.


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Is GERD Damaging your Pearly Whites?

For GERD, Protect Tooth EnamelBesides the usual six-month cleanings, we try to keep our visits to the dentist to an absolute minimum. However, brushing and flossing at least twice a day may not be enough to save tooth enamel in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. As if the chronic burning sensation isn’t enough to deal with, new research reveals GERD can severely damage your teeth due to an inflow of acid into the mouth.

GERD has the potential to thin, sharpen and pit your teeth.

For most sufferers of GERD, symptoms can be controlled through prescription medications or with reflux surgery for more severe cases, but what about your pearly whites? Chronic heart burn triggered by GERD can produce stomach acids strong enough to soften the surface of teeth, or in some cases even dissolve the surface of teeth altogether and continue to wear them down layers at a time.

The Journal of the American Dental Association published a study that measured chronic heartburn’s effects on the teeth of 12 people suffering from GERD in comparison to six healthy patients without GERD for a period of six months. This study was the first to track GERD’s effects on tooth erosion for a substantial amount of time. The study revealed via optical scanner that nearly half of the GERD participants experienced more tooth erosion than the study’s healthy participants.

Unfortunately, tooth enamel cannot be repaired once it becomes eroded. In order to treat a tooth that has eroded your dentist will need to crown, fill or use a veneer to fix and protect what’s left of the tooth. Luckily for GERD patients there is one natural defense mechanism at work. Saliva acts a natural buffer to neutralize the stomach acids that flow into the mouth as a result of GERD, and also contains minute amounts of phosphate and calcium ions which help minimize tooth damage.

Despite saliva’s limits on enamel protection, there are additional methods patients of GERD can use to protect teeth from further erosion.

Here are a few tips to help keep you out of the dentist’s office outside of your usual cleanings.

  1. Do not brush your teeth directly following an acid reflux episode. Instead, use a fluoride rinse.
  2. If you tend to have a dry mouth, drink more water during the day to increase saliva production.
  3. Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol which helps reduce the acids from your foods and drinks.
  4. Ask your dentist about trying prescription toothpaste for acid reflux patients.
  5. Talk to your doctor about treatments for your GERD such as prescriptions or reflux surgery.

It is important to protect tooth enamel as much as possible, especially if you suffer from GERD. Talk with your doctor about ways to treat your GERD and help protect your teeth from erosion caused by chronic heart burn.


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In Some Cases, Beauty Really is Pain

The world today seemingly revolves around appearance and looking great at any age and at any time. Being so focused and concerned with outward appearance leads many people today to adopt the old saying, ‘beauty is pain.’ Well according to research, this saying might be true after all—research suggests fashion trends such as wearing tight clothes or control wear may cause or in some cases aggravate certain gastrointestinal conditions.

Trend: Control Wear

Wearing clothes that are too tight or too small whether you’re male or female just isn’t a good look. Especially, if you are aware of the unpleasant and unexpected side effects they can potentially cause. However, many people today can’t seem to live without their control wear—these garments work wonders by holding in the stomach making waistlines appear much smoother and smaller for many people.

You have probably seen old movies where women faint because of how tight their corsets were. Well, health risks caused by such beauty endeavors are still the same today, especially for those who turn to control wear to fix their beauty blunders. Control wear can increase pressure on the lower stomach which in return can force acid up into the digestive tract and potentially cause heartburn. Research shows that over time, wearing such tight garments could contribute to inflammation, ulcers and in some extreme cases, esophageal cancer. Also, conditions such as reflux and irritable bowel syndrome can worsen due to tight control garments worn on a consistent basis.

Trend: Skinny Pants

I am sure by now you have seen or know someone who has fallen prey to the recent fashion trend of skinny jeans. Although in some cases skinny jeans make the legs and backside look phenomenal on the outside, they could be causing some not so great health risks on the inside. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, 80 percent of patients who presented with heartburn or abdominal pain after meals wore pants at least three inches smaller than their true waist.

Women are not the only ones to blame for trying to wear clothes too small and tight for their bodies. Gastroenterologists have reported overweight men who squeeze into tight pants can in fact potentially aggravate an otherwise silent abdominal hernia. Whether male or female it is important to wear pants in which the waistbands sit above the hips so no unwanted pressure on the abdomen is caused.

It’s hard to not fall in line with the latest fashion trends in order to look great, but when those trends can potentially cause health issues it may be time to be above the latest fashions. If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, wearing tight pants and control wear could possibly complicate your conditions. It is important to talk with Dr. Ihde about other issues potentially causing your stomach problems. In some cases, reflux surgery or medications may be suggested to treat more serious conditions.


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Don’t Mistake Acid Reflux for a Food Allergy

You hear adults all the time claiming to be allergic to certain foods because once during childhood they developed hives or maybe became ill after trying something new. The funny thing is, many of these adults probably grew out of the food allergy and have been avoiding those foods ever since, so they don’t know any better.

Over 30 percent of Americans believe they have food allergies, but many of these adults are mistaking serious gastrointestinal issues for allergic reactions. Many people mistake conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome as symptoms of a food allergy because they experience abdominal pains shortly after eating.

Another condition commonly mistaken for an allergic reaction is eosinophilic esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus. This can cause symptoms like heartburn, but this heartburn doesn’t respond to antacids or heartburn blockers. More often than not, when patients experience pain, bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort it’s not caused by food allergies.

When people continue to live with these symptoms under the belief that they’re caused by food allergies, they are ignoring signs of what could possibly be a more serious health issue. It is important to know the signs of acid reflux so you can make sure you’re not overlooking what could lead to serious health problems in the future. Acid reflux causes a burning sensation that often starts from the stomach and works its way up towards the chest. Sometimes these sensations can reach as high as the throat. -, Chronic acid reflux is often a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and not just an allergic reaction.

If these conditions continue to go untreated, chronic acid reflux problems can lead to permanent damage to the lower esophagus. Sometimes this permanent damage is referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus refers to permanent changes in the cells from the lining of the lower esophagus. If not treated, Barrett’s esophagus can increase the risk of cancer in the esophagus over time.

If you are someone who is unsure of the cause of your symptoms and think you may be mistaking a more serious gastrointestinal problem for a food allergy, contact Dr. Ihde for further evaluation.


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Bad Breath? Stomach Issues May be the Culprit

Dealing with the ups and downs of acid reflux, heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can be a real nightmare. They each come with their own laundry list of unpleasant symptoms, but there may be one more not so obvious drawback that those suffering from gastrointestinal issues have been overlooking—bad breath. So, if you have had or are scheduled to have reflux surgery, this may be one more benefit for you to look forward to!

Although bad breath is not necessarily directly related to gastrointestinal issues, the causation sure does seem to make sense. Bad breath, whether caused by sinus issues, tonsil issues or anything else, can be a terrible condition to deal with, but there’s something about bad breath caused by stomach issues that makes it a little bit worse. Stomach breath is seemingly worse than other types of bad breath because, truthfully, it stinks—and not in the same way morning breath does.

Potential Causes

There are numerous causes for stomach breath, most of which stem from certain stomach-related disorders. Bad breath might not always be listed as a distinct symptom of these gastrointestinal disorders, but that doesn’t make it any less of an issue. If you think about it, stomach issues usually cause stomach acid and pieces of food to travel up through the throat, so you can logically assume it’s going to carry an odor along with it.

If you put two-and-two together, you might start connecting your own issues, whether they are acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD as possible causes for less than pleasant breath. Think about it—acid reflux occurs when the digestive acids in the stomach leak back into the digestive tract, traveling up the esophagus and eventually, can release foul odor via the mouth.

Sometimes bad breath caused by stomach disorders can be dealt with by simply altering your diet. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding spicy foods, dairy products and red meats can help cut down on bad stomach breath. Also, try reducing portion sizes; this helps because the stomach won’t need to produce as much acid as it does with larger meals.

What You Can Do to Help

When dealing with bad stomach breath, it’s usually more complicated than a simple diet change, so here are a few quick fixes in the meantime:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal
  • Use a strong mouthwash with bacteria fighting capabilities
  • Keep breath mints in your desk and car
  • Try chewing a fresh-flavored gum or freshening mouth spray

Bad breath is terrible to deal with no matter what the cause is, but sometimes constant bad breath could be a sign of something more serious going on. Make sure you talk with Dr. Ihde if you think this symptom could be the cause of a more serious gastrointestinal issue.

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Stopping Bloating due to Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a medical condition where stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. It can cause a number of varying symptoms depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. Most commonly, a person suffering from GERD experiences heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion in Dallas. However, there are a variety of other symptoms that also frequently develop as a result of the disease, including chest pain, asthma and trouble swallowing.

One symptom that frustrates many GERD patients is bloating. Bloating is caused by a buildup of fluids in the abdomen that causes an individual to carry around excess weight. There are a number of ways to prevent bloating as a result of GERD:

• Create a food diary. Bloating frequently indicates intolerance to certain foods. Use a food diary to keep track of the times you feel bloated, including what you ate.

• Take digestive enzymes. By taking digestive enzymes approximately 30 minutes before eating you can help your stomach digest food more easily by reducing gas in your digestive tract.

• Avoid gas-producing foods. Foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and beans produce gas, which may lead to excessive stomach bloating, particularly in people who have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

• Chew slowly. Eating slowly will prevent you from inhaling excess air when swallowing your food.

Avoid carbonated beverages. Instead, drink water alone or with your meals. Further, do not drink through a straw, which can cause you to swallow air as you drink.

• Take an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-bloating medication. Some OTC medications are specifically designed to reduce gas and bloating. Speak with your acid reflux physician about medications for your bloating that will not interfere with your acid reflux treatment plan.

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