The Symptoms & Diagnosed For Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux, also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a chronic, often life-long condition where liquids and acids from the stomach regurgitate into the esophagus. These liquids can inflame the esophageal lining and in a minority of patients causes damage. It's estimated that 5-7% of the global population, including infants & children suffer from GERD and it is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are either too mild to warrant a doctor's visit or downplayed and misunderstood.

The Symptoms & Diagnosed For Acid Reflux Disease

Usually Acid Reflux (GERD) is caused by a faulty sphincter. The esophageal sphincter is a little muscular ring at the end of the esophagus and is designed to prevent stomach contents from "backing up". Sometimes this sphincter becomes weak and stops functioning properly, allowing stomach acids to push up through the opening into the esophagus. In other cases, Acid Reflux is caused by a hiatus hernia, where the stomach pokes through the diaphragm, preventing the esophagus from closing. There are also certain health conditions where a higher incidence of Acid Reflux occurs, such as in those with asthma and diabetes.

3 Common Symptoms

1. Heartburn

Heartburn is the primary symptom of GERD. It is a burning sensation that radiates up from the stomach to the chest and throat. Heartburn is most likely to occur in connection with the following activities :

  • After a heavy meal
  • Bending over
  • Lifting
  • Lying down, particularly on the back

According to study, nearly three-quarters of patients with frequent GERD symptoms experience them at night. Patients with nighttime GERD also tend to experience more severe pain than those whose symptoms occur at other times. Study found that patients with night-time pain reported levels of severity that were similar to those reported in angina and congestive heart failure.

The severity of heartburn does not necessarily indicate actual injury in the esophagus. For example, Barrett's esophagus, which causes precancerous changes in the esophagus, may trigger few symptoms, especially in elderly people. On the other hand, people can suffer severe heartburn without the presence of damage to the esophagus.

2. Dyspepsia

Up to half of GERD patients have dyspepsia, a syndrome consisting of the following :

  • Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Fullness in the stomach
  • Nausea after eating

3. Regurgitation

Regurgitation is the feeling of acid backing up in the throat. Sometimes acid regurgitates as far as the mouth and be experienced as a "wet burp." Uncommonly, it may come out forcefully as vomit.

3 Less Common Symptoms, The Difference For Acid Reflux And Heart Attack

1. Chest Sensations Or Pain
2. Coughing And Respiratory Symptoms
3. Chronic Nausea And Vomiting

How Is Acid Reflux Diagnosed And Evaluated?

8 Ways To Diagnosed And Evaluated Acid Reflux

1. Endoscopy
2. X-rays
3. Biopsies
4. Examination Of The Throat And Larynx
5. Esophageal Motility Testing
6. Gastric Emptying Studies
7. Acid Perfusion Test
8. Esophageal Acid Testing