Don’t Ignore Your Heartburn!Posted: Sep 25 in Health Complications by Staff
Heartburn affects nearly 60 million Americans, but many people with regular reflux don’t pursue medical treatment for their pain. In fact, out of those 60 million heartburn sufferers in the U.S, nearly 64 percent don’t know that letting gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD go untreated can lead to serious health complications.
If you’re suffering from heartburn in Macon on a regular basis, don’t be part of the 60 percent of sufferers who don’t discuss their condition with a doctor. Be smart, learn about the risks of untreated heartburn and speak with your GERD specialist before it’s too late.
The Risky Business of Ignoring GERD
Leaving heartburn in Macon untreated can lead to a laundry list of health complications including an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Here are some common health complications associated with uncontrolled GERD.
- Esophageal Ulcers. Unlike your stomach, your esophagus has no protective mucous lining to prevent damage from stomach acid. Over time, stomach acid refluxed into the esophagus can corrode its lining, causing inflammation that can eventually lead to ulcers. Blood found in vomit, spit-up or stools are common symptoms of esophageal ulcers—contact your GERD doctor immediately if this occurs.
- Esophageal Stricture. Esophageal inflammation due to prolonged reflux exposure can cause scar tissue development. Over time this tissue narrows the esophagus, creating an esophageal stricture that makes swallowing difficult and painful. People with esophageal strictures are at an increased risk of choking, and some people avoid eating due to a fear of choking which can lead to extreme, weight loss and malnutrition.
- Difficulty Breathing. GERD is known to worsen asthma. Over time, inhalation of refluxed stomach acid can cause lung and airway damage which may result in difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Even for sufferers without existing lung issues, such breathing problems may occur.
GERD and Your Well-Being
One study completed in Germany found that in more than 6,000 GERD patients, heartburn and acid reflux severely impacted their overall quality of life. Participants in the study reported that regular activities like eating, drinking and sleeping are all made difficult due to their chronic reflux. These are common complaints among many who experience heartburn in Macon, too, but you don’t need to let heartburn compromise your quality of life. If you’re experiencing heartburn more than two or three times a week, avoid potential health complications and speak with your GERD surgeon about treatment.