By Janet Martin
Have you ever experienced heartburn – that burning feeling rising from the stomach or lower chest up towards the neck? If so, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a serious condition that affects many people, including 50 million Europeans.
Unfortunately, many sufferers are not getting the right medical treatment because the condition is usually unrecognized by patients and often misdiagnosed as dyspepsia (indigestion). This was revealed by participants of the Genval Workshop in Belgium that recently developed guidelines for the management and treatment of GERD. The workshop brought together 35 doctors from 16 countries, including primary care physicians, gastroenterologists and surgeons with a major involvement in GERD.
GERD is a potentially serious disease characterized by the reflux or backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus (food pipe). Some backflow of the stomach acid happens occasionally and is no cause for alarm. However, when this happens frequently, it can have a major negative impact on the person’s quality of life.
A recent American population survey of GERD patients showed that 75 percent had difficulty sleeping, 51 percent couldn’t work while 40 percent found exercise painful. In addition, GERD carries a significant risk of esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) and other complications like cancer.
Heartburn is the primary symptom of GERD and is found in 40 percent of the adult population of the Western world. In a study of over 800 European patients with GERD, heartburn was experienced by 86 percent of the patients. However, the Genval delegates said the true prevalence of GERD couldn’t be determined since the disease is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
To address this problem, the Genval participants encouraged doctors to describe heartburn in locally relevant language to prevent misinterpretation and help patients recognize this symptom. This will allow physicians to provide sufferers with the most effective treatments available.
Since heartburn can be triggered by large meals as well as fatty and spicy foods, eat a balanced diet and avoid eating too much. Overeating can make you an easy target for GERD and lead to obesity which is bad for your health. To help you lose weight safely and naturally, take Phenocal – a powerful supplement that will boost your metabolism, suppress your appetite, increase energy levels, and help you shed those unwanted pounds.
Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com
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