Posts Tagged Reflux Disease

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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Zinc and Acid Reflux

Chronic indigestion in Dallas can mean more than sleepless nights and a reliance on antacids. It can mean an end to indulging in any of the dishes that make Dallas cuisine so special.

Recent research from the Yale University School of Medicine indicates that taking a common and essential mineral can relieve indigestion and acid reflux. This type of indigestion is incredibly common in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans.

This promising mineral is zinc. In a study of 12 participants, Yale’s researchers found that 200 mg of zinc chloride administered orally after a 10-hour fast quickly reduced stomach acid secretion. The lowered secretions continued for three or more hours.

Acidity in participants receiving plain water or an acid reflux PPI medication remained high. The researchers indicate that delayed relief is a long-standing shortcoming of PPIs. Their findings, published in the January 2011 American Journal of Gastroenterology, also mention that regular use of zinc also thickens the stomach surface’s acid-buffering protective gel layer.

The stomach’s acid-secreting parietal cells contain tiny pumps that release acidic hydrogen ions. PPI acid reflux medications block the pumps’ ion release. Their regular use, however, may cause zinc deficiency. As an essential mineral, zinc helps cells grow properly. Zinc deficiency may cause nerve damage, problems with developing infants and digestive system irregularity.

The Yale researchers speculate that zinc may relieve indigestion quickly by preventing the negative electrical charge that signals the stomach cavity to begin producing acid. They suggest that at daily levels higher than the National Institutes of Health’s recommended 8 to 11 mg, zinc may be a supplemental or alternative acid reflux treatment.

If indigestion has put your favorite Dallas cooking off limits, talk to your doctor about adding zinc to your acid reflux treatment regimen.

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Frequent Causes of Acid Reflux

Chances are that like millions of other Americans, you have experienced acid reflux. For many people however, acid reflux is a regular and frequent nuisance. Reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach flows back into your esophagus, a tube that connects the stomach to the back of the throat. Gastric reflux can cause chest pain, heartburn, regurgitation of food and tooth erosion. A big part of treatment for indigestion in Ft. Worth is prevention, so you must know the frequent causes of acid reflux.

• Bad eating habits. A frequent cause of indigestion in Ft. Worth is overeating, which causes the stomach contents to overflow and back up into the throat. Eat more frequent, smaller-sized meals to prevent acid reflux.

• Pregnancy. A healthy baby is desirable, but a growing child can put pressure on the stomach wall, forcing acid up into the throat. Eating smaller meals and frequently changing positions helps relieve pressure on the stomach.

• Smoking. The common habit of smoking can cause acid reflux, because it damages mucus membranes, decreases saliva production and increases acid secretion in the stomach. Smoking also slows down digestion, resulting in increased stomach pressure and a greater chance of reflux.

• Hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias cause acid reflux when a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest cavity. Hiatal hernias should be diagnosed by a physician, and are often caused by vomiting, straining and obesity. Pregnancy and physical exertion can also cause hiatal hernias.

• Asthma. Although scientists disagree on whether asthma causes acid reflux or vice versa, it is clear that one condition aggravates the other. Asthma medications can also cause acid reflux in some people.

• Acidic diet. Certain foods and beverages that are acidic in nature can cause acid reflux. These products include alcohol, citrus fruits, fruit juices, tomato sauces, spicy foods and spicy flavorings. Simply avoid these foods to decrease your chance of acid reflux.

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Barrett’s Esophagus and Malignancy Risk

If you suffer from frequent esophageal reflux or GERD in Dallas, you should have your condition monitored by your doctor. In some cases, GERD can develop into a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precancerous condition. Only approximately one percent of Americans have this condition. People with Barrett’s esophagus are more likely to develop esophageal cancer.

Once you are diagnosed as having Barrett’s esophagus, your doctor will monitor you to see if you are developing any irregularities that could indicate your condition is progressing toward cancer. This usually involves regular endoscopies, with the frequency determined by your doctor based on the severity of your condition. Controlling your reflux through diet and lifestyle changes can help limit the risk for your condition worsening, since acid reflux can damage the lining of your esophagus and make cancerous changes more likely.

Recent research has shown that Barrett’s esophagus may not be as likely to lead to malignant cancer as previously thought. However, further research is needed to better determine the actual level of risk. Estimates suggest that the number of people with this condition that will develop cancer each year is anywhere from .22 to 3 percent. However, the likelihood of your Barrett’s esophagus leading to cancer varies depending on a number of factors, with males and people between the ages of 60 and 69 being more likely to develop cancer than females and those who are younger than 60 or older than 69 years of age.


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Coughing and GERD

Every year, millions of Americans suffer from GERD. Symptoms range in severity from mild to miserable, often characterized by a burning sensation in the throat or chest, unexplained postnasal drip, sore throat, acidic taste in the mouth and coughing.

Coughing: How and Why?

You may have noticed that when your heartburn is particularly bad, you tend to cough a lot. This is because the gas from the stomach-acid that is backing up into your esophagus is getting inhaled into your lungs. This gas is caustic and naturally, it causes irritation in the respiratory system.

How Does the Acid Get There?

At the beginning of the stomach is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When it functions normally, it opens just long enough to let food in, then stays closed to keep food and acid in the stomach where it belongs. Under certain circumstances, the LES may become relaxed or weakened, allowing stomach contents into the esophagus.

What Causes GERD?

GERD has many causes, and fortunately most of them are avoidable. Some causes involve foods like cold drinks, raw bananas, uncooked peppers and onions, refined carbohydrates and anything containing mint or its oils. GERD is also strongly associated with certain habits like unresolved negative feelings, overeating and the consumption of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Even certain medications may cause heartburn. Sometimes when a person suffers from chronic GERD it may be the result of a hiatal hernia or morbid obesity. If you’re extremely overweight and suffering from serious GERD, losing weight may alleviate your symptoms.


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The Difference between Acid Reflux and GERD

Acid reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) both have heartburn in common, but the two also have differences. While many individuals have symptoms of acid reflux from time to time, when the symptoms of acid reflux become frequent and persistent, it’s termed Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux refers to the splashing of stomach acid up into the esophagus. It is actually acid reflux that causes the burning feeling of heartburn. When the muscle valve in the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) loosens or weakens, acid refluxes up from the stomach. Normally, this valve should close tightly after eating to prevent acid from escaping. However, when this valve is compromised, it won’t close tightly, causing gastric juices to rise into the esophagus. Dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce the occasional symptoms of acid reflux, as can over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers. For people who get occasional acid reflux, antacids and acid blockers can be taken prior to eating known heartburn triggers, and this often provides relief.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

People who suffer from heartburn two or more times per week are said to have GERD. In these people, the LES valve is permanently weakened or damaged, resulting in chronic acid reflux incidents. For people who have GERD, dietary and lifestyle changes aren’t always enough to reduce their symptoms; sometimes stronger medications are necessary. These medications include proton pump inhibitors, which prevent acid reflux over a longer period of time. These medications also help to decrease the production of stomach acids. Some proton pump inhibitors can help to heal the esophageal lining, which may have become damaged from persistent acid reflux. Another type of medication, called prokinetics, helps the stomach to empty out more quickly while strengthening the LES. When medication fails to alleviate the symptoms of GERD, your Dallas/Fort Worth physician may recommend surgery.


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Causes and Treatments of Reflux Laryngitis

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, occurs when stomach contents move backwards up into the esophagus. Patients that are obese or have a hiatal hernia have an increased risk of GERD. In instances where the stomach acid backs up into the larynx, or voicebox, the condition is known as reflux laryngitis.

The most common symptom of reflux laryngitis is heartburn. Severe reflux laryngitis can also cause hoarseness and asthma. In other cases, the patient may feel as though they have something caught in their throat, which is referred to as globus phenomenon.

There are a number of medications, both over the counter and prescription that are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease including heartburn. These include acid-blocking drugs such as Pepcid, Tagmet, Axid and Zantac (rantidine). These classes of drugs are available without a doctor’s prescription and are known as H2-blockers. Protein pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec and Prevacid are also available without a prescription. Reglan is a prescription medication that is sometimes prescribed to help with stomach emptying.

In cases where medication therapy is ineffective, surgery may be advised. Surgery includes strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter (or muscular valve), which is known as the fundoplication procedure. Fundoplication can be performed either as a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery or transorally. The transoral approach uses a procedure called TIF Esophyx and is performed through the mouth without abdominal incisions.

Heartburn and hoarseness are typically present in a diagnosis of reflux laryngitis. When conservative treatment or drug therapy are not effective, Dallas and Fort Worth patients may be advised to obtain certain diagnostic tests. These tests include espohagram, laryngoscopy, endoscopy and esophageal pH monitoring.

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Job Stress Can Increase Risk Of GERD

For centuries, folk lore claimed that stress can give you a stomach ache. Today, new research scientifically ties job stress and trauma to gastrointestinal disorders.

Researchers led by Dr. Yvette Lam, a gastroenterologist at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York, evaluated 697 patients who worked on the cleanup efforts following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The subjects, aged 34 to 50, were found to be twice as likely as the general population to suffer from GERD, a disease characterized by frequent acid reflux. Of the patients who had GERD, 21% were also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 21.5% with depression, and nearly 30% with an anxiety disorder.

Other studies have shown that active duty military personnel, a job that is also considered high stress, were more likely to suffer from digestive problems than the general population. Active duty military personnel frequently complained of diarrhea, IBS, GERD and other stomach problems. It was noted that an increased risk of exposure to bacteria could be responsible for part of the increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

While both of these jobs represent cases of extreme stress, it may determine that mental health plays a role in digestive health. Doctors suggest that people suffering from mental health disorders and digestive problems should work to address both problems simultaneously.

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GERD and Chronic Cough

If you’ve been suffering from a chronic cough for three or more weeks and have no other symptoms or history of respiratory diseases, you may be suffering from a symptom of GERD.

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is associated with frequent acid reflux, when stomach acids flow back into the esophagus. While heartburn is the most common symptom associated with GERD, a chronic cough may also indicate gastroesophageal problems.

How does GERD trigger a chronic cough?

If stomach acid refluxes into the upper most part of the esophagus it can trigger the esophageal-tracheobronchial reflex, coughing meant to prevent irritants from entering the pulmonary system. Acid reflux may also lead to microaspiration in which small amounts of acid enters the bronchial tubes or lungs, causing inflammation coughing. A cough caused by micoaspiration may also be accompanied by hoarseness.

A chronic cough that is caused by GERD can often be resolved with GERD medications, including over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications like proton pump inhibitors. In addition to medications, GERD can also be treated with diet and lifestyle changes and surgery. A chronic cough is most likely to be associated with GERD if there are no other symptoms or respiratory problems present. You should also tell your doctor if you are experiencing other GERD symptoms, including heartburn, difficulties swallowing, or an acidic or sour taste in your mouth.

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GERD Complication: Esophageal Stricture

Although most people will suffer from heartburn at least once in their life, frequent heartburn should be taken seriously. If you experience heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, you may be suffering from GERD. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, including an esophageal stricture. Find out more about this condition and how it can be treated and prevented.

An esophageal stricture is a narrowing of the esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. The esophagus becomes narrow because of scar tissue that has become hard. This narrowing can make it difficult to eat or drink. An esophageal stricture may also contain cancerous cells, and therefore should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

How does GERD cause an esophageal stricture?

The lining of your esophagus is not designed to protect against erosive digestive acids. When acid reflux occurs, these stomach acids are flowing into your esophagus and damaging the soft tissues that line the tube. The more this occurs, the greater the chance of having scar tissue develop, harden, build up and cause a narrowing of the esophagus opening.

Can an esophageal stricture be treated?

In addition to controlling the underlying problems that caused the stricture to develop in the first place, a doctor will also want to widen the opening of the esophagus. This can be done with dilation, which uses a balloon or stent to widen the esophagus; ablation, which uses thermal energy or gas; cautery, which burns the excess abnormal cells in the esophagus; or laser therapy, which is also designed to get rid of abnormal cells.

Contact your doctor if you experience frequent heartburn, a bitter or acid taste in your mouth, black or tarry stools, chronic coughing, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, or vomiting blood. These may be signs of an esophageal stricture.

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