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.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Acid Reflux Relief logoHow common is Acid Reflux?

Population-based studies have reported that one third of Western populations experience the symptoms of GERD at least once a month, with 4% to 7% of the population experiencing daily symptoms. Judging from the high prevalence of heartburn in the general population, GERD is a very common condition. Most patients with mild symptoms carry out self-medication, whereas those with more severe and persistent symptoms seek out medical attention. Further, the prevalence and severity of GERD is likely increasing. This is in contrast to duodenal ulcer disease where the prevalence has markedly decreased. These trends may be in part related to the effects of Helicobacter pylori. The diagnosis of a columnar-lined esophagus is also increasing at a rapid rate, and deaths from end-stage benign esophageal disease are on an upward trend. These epidemiologic changes have occurred despite dramatic improvements in the efficacy of treatment options.
Studies on the natural history of GERD are rare. The few that do exist usually involve patients who were receiving some form of therapy. One of the most detailed studies on the natural history of the disease comes from Lausanne, Switzerland, where an intensive endoscopic follow-up of a defined population of 959 patients was performed over a 30-year period. The study involved only patients who had endoscopic esophagitis and did not include those who had symptoms without mucosal injury. It showed that in about 45% of patients esophagitis developed as an isolated episode and does not return while on acid suppression therapy. In the remaining patients esophagitis intermittently recurs on acid suppression therapy, and in 42% it progressed on therapy to more severe mucosal injury. This latter group makes up about 23% of the initial population of patients with esophagitis. The study also showed that 18% of the initial population acquired, while on therapy and within as short a period of 6 weeks, a columnar-lined lower esophagus with intestinal metaplasia.