What is acid reflux relief?

In medically oriented terms, antonyms of the word relief include pain, distress or damage. That links its meaning to both subjective and objective aspects. Subjective, denoting sensations experienced by the sufferer such as pain and objective, meaning physical findings detected by specialists which are either functional distress or organic damage. Actually relief is related to control measures and it quantitatively signifies removal of an unpleasant existence or reduction of its magnitude. The definition of relief, therefore encompasses alleviation of pain, relaxation of distress and healing of damage. Acid reflux on the other hand has two sides; the subjective side (symptoms) which reflects the symptom of heartburn and the objective side (signs) that reflects the functional and/or organic signs of esophageal changes. Acid reflux relief is therefore a broad term that covers all the measures used to control symptoms and signs of acid reflux disease. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter remains closed except during swallowing. This prevents the passage of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened or relaxed, stomach acid may back up into the esophagus. Frequent acid reflux can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus, causing symptoms and signs of acid reflux. A better understanding of relief would thus entail knowledge of some aspects of normal structure and function, so that changes in the disease and its control could be easily considered. Actually acid reflux relief involves both preventive and curative measures, and in addition to treatment; orientation with the causes, symptoms and complications of acid reflux are essential for proper management. Acid reflux relief includes: dietary changes,lifestyle modifications, specific medications and surgical operations.Basic knowledge of the underlying causes and progression of acid reflux and answering frequently asked questions about its relief; add to the depth of understanding.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Acid Reflux Relief logoAdrenergic drugs and acid reflux

The lower esophageal sphincter is a physiological sphincter acting like a valve. It is a ring of smooth muscle fibers at the junction of the esophagus and stomach.
As the stomach generates strong acids and enzymes to aid in food digestion; it is protected at the same time by virtue of its inner lining which has several mechanisms to resist the effect of gastric juice on itself. On the other hand the mucosa of the esophagus does not have these protective mechanisms. Fortunately the esophagus is normally protected from these acids by this one-way valve mechanism at its junction with the stomach i.e. lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which prevents gastric juice from flowing back into the esophagus.
During peristalsis, the LES allows the food bolus to pass into the stomach. It prevents chyme (a mixture of bolus, stomach acid, and digestive enzymes) from returning up the esophagus. The LES is aided in the task of keeping the flow of materials in one direction by external supportive muscle fibers derived from the diaphragm.
Contraction of smooth muscle fibers of the lower esophageal sphincter is controlled by many factors, of which the adrenergic receptors are of utmost importance.
A receptor is
a molecule on the surface of the smooth muscle cell that recognizes and binds with specific molecules, producing some effect in the cell. The cell is called the effector as it performs the action dictated by a signal released following stimulation of the specified receptor.
The term adrenergic means having physiological effects similar to those of epinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter released at the nerve endings in contact with smooth muscle fibers.
Receptors are named after the action of epinephrine, the alternative name for adrenaline. Alpha receptors, which are stimulated by norepinephrine and blocked by agents such as phenoxybenzamine, produce contraction of the smooth muscles of the sphincter. Beta receptors, which are stimulated by epinephrine and blocked by agents such as propranolol, produce smooth muscle relaxation.
The term adrenergic is also used for drugs, which have effects similar to, or the same as, epinephrine (adrenaline). Adrenergic drugs that stimulate a response are called (agonists) and those that inhibit a response called (antagonists).
Accordingly, Alpha Adrenergic Agonists produce contraction of the lower esophageal sphincter and Beta Adrenergic Agonists are associated with relaxation of the sphincter and trigger reflux.
On the contrary, Alpha Adrenergic Antagonists produce sphincter relaxation and Beta Adrenergic Antagonists increase lower esophageal sphincter pressure.
Alpha blockers and beta-agonists are directly related to relaxation of the LES and acid reflux.
Alpha blockers ( alpha-adrenergic blocking agents) constitute a variety of drugs which block alpha-adrenergic receptors in arteries and smooth muscles.
These drugs may be used to treat:
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
high blood pressure (hypertension).
symptoms of non inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Examples include:
Doxazosin (Cardura)
Prazosin (Minipress)
Phentolamine (Regitine)
Tamsulosin (Flomaxtra/Flomax)
Alfuzosin (Uroxatral)
Terazosin (Hytrin)
Beta adrenergic receptor agonists are a class of drugs used to treat asthma and other pulmonary disease states.
They act on the beta-adrenergic receptor, thereby causing smooth muscle relaxation resulting in dilation of bronchial passages, vasodilation in muscle and liver, relaxation of uterine muscle and release of insulin. All beta agonists are available in inhaler form (either metered-dose inhalers, which aerosolize the drug, or dry powder which can be breathed in).
In addition, several of these medications are available in intravenous forms including both salbutamol and terbutaline. It can be used in this form in severe cases of asthma, but more commonly it is used to suppress premature labor because it also relaxes uterine muscle, thereby inhibiting contractions.
Examples include:
salbutamol (albuterol)
bitolterol mesylate
In patients with acid reflux disease, drug history should be reviewed to detect any of these drugs associated with sphincter relaxation. The physician, would evaluate the medical background and reconsider all medications given.