Risk Factors for GERD

Although heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux are common, certain risk factors put some people at a higher risk of their infrequent bouts of indigestion becoming more problematic and developing into gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you may be of developing it. These risk factors can be related to your lifestyle, your diet, certain medical conditions or medications and supplements.

Dietary Risk Factors for GERD

Specific foods can be considered “trigger foods” and can irritate and increase the symptoms of GERD. Eating a diet heavy in these foods could increase your chances. Common trigger foods include:

  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Caffeinated products
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods
  • Fried foods
  • Foods or juices mad from tomatoes

By keeping an overall healthy and well-balanced diet while avoiding the consumption of trigger foods, you may be able to avoid the symptoms of GERD.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for GERD

Certain habits and lifestyle choices can also increase your chances of developing GERD such as:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Other habits that you may perform directly after eating such as vigorous exercise or laying down can also increase these chances. You want to make sure that your lifestyle choices are geared towards an overall healthy well-being to decrease your chances of developing GERD.

Medical Risk Factors for GERD

Medical conditions that you may already have can put you at an increased risk for developing GERD. Even certain surgeries can trigger the disorder once the procedure is complete. Medical conditions that could increase your chances of developing GERD include:

  • Hiatal hernia
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Scleroderma
  • Certain nervous system disorders

Certain types of medications and supplements can also become risk factors for GERD, including:

  • Asthma medications
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Nitrates
  • Viagra
  • Bisphosphonates (drugs used to treat loss of bone mass)
  • Anticholinergics (drugs that can be used to treat incontinence, muscle spasms, depression and sleep disorders)

It is important to identify whether or not you are at an increased risk for developing GERD. If so, you may want to speak to Dr. Bagnato about prevention and possible lifestyle changes to keep the painful symptoms of GERD away and at bay.