Acid Reflux (GERD-Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease)-How to Avoid It!
Acid reflux, or GERD, is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. It is a chronic condition that causes damage to the lining of the stomach, resulting in acid secretion into the esophagus (food tube). Over time, GERD can lead to ulcers in both the stomach and esophagus caused from consistent acid secretion and an increasingly low pH (pH around 2.0-normal is around 7.0). GERD Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Likely worse at night
- Nausea after eating
- Increased by bending, stooping, lying down, or eating
- Feeling of pressure behind breastbone (sternum)
- Acidic foods (onions, tomatoes, coffee, hot/spicy foods, soda, corn to name a few)
GERD risk factors can include: obesity, smoking, and high acid diet. It is diagnosed by endoscopy, pH monitoring, and barium swallow (x-ray is involved in this procedure).
Avoiding GERD can keep you off drugs like Nexium, Omeprazole, or Prilosec, which reduce secretion into the stomach, lowering your pH, and making you MORE susceptible to ulcer formation in both the stomach and/or esophagus. Below will be some easy tips to reduce either your symptoms and/or decrease your frequency of episodes.
- Eat a more alkaline diet- consume foods such as green, leafy vegetables, avocados, apples, and bananas to name a few
- Cook foods using cinnamon, curry powder, ginger, and apple cider vinegar.
- Reduce your acidic food consumption-I know it’s hard to not drink your AM coffee, but slowly decreasing your coffee intake over time will help diminish your symptoms!
Adapting your lifestyle by making small, slow changes, will avoid GERD symptoms and long-term complications of cancer, ulcers, and dental problems (because of acid). Stay tuned to next month’s tips!