Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive issue characterized by the frequent (at least twice a week) flow of gastric acid from the stomach back into the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause heartburn, coughing, difficulty swallowing, the feeling of having a lump in the throat, wheezing, and chest and throat pain. About 60% of adults in this country experience acid reflux from time to time, with about 20% experiencing symptoms regularly. Acid reflux disease is usually not serious. However, left untreated, in some cases, it can lead to inflammation, irritation and ulceration and stricturing of the esophagus lining. Chronic untreated acid reflux can lead to Barrett’s esophagus (changes to the esophagus lining that can be a precursor to esophageal cancer).
While anybody can suffer from acid reflux disease, a number of factors can increase an individual's risk. These include:
Dr. Loria will begin with a consultation that includes taking a complete medical history, a detailed discussion of the patient’s symptoms, diet, and lifestyle, and a physical examination. Upper GI endoscopy is often performed to evaluate chronic symptoms. Additional advanced diagnostic testing may be indicated in refractory cases.
Utilizing information analyzed through an in-depth consultation, physical exam and possibly endoscopy or other imaging, Dr. Loria devises a personalized treatment plan for each patient. In most cases, he is able to manage a patient’s acid reflux disease with dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Often medication or other non-invasive remedies may also be used. Only in rare instances is surgery required.
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