Long-term Complications of "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease"
Sometimes chronic acid reflux disease can cause serious complications. Inflammation of the esophagus from stomach acid causes bleeding or ulcers. In addition, scars from tissue damage the esophagus and make swallowing difficult. Some people develop Barrett's esophagus, where cells in the esophageal lining take on an abnormal shape and color, which over time can lead to cancer.
Also, studies have shown that asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis may be aggravated or even caused by "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease".
For information about Barrett's esophagus, please refer to the Barrett's Esophagus brochure from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Points to Remember about Chronic Acid Reflux Disease
- Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, is the most common
symptom of chronic acid reflux disease. Anyone experiencing heartburn twice a week
or more may have "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease".
- You can have chronic acid reflux disease without having heartburn. Your symptoms
could be excessive clearing of the throat, problems swallowing,
the feeling that food is stuck in your throat, burning in the
mouth, or pain in the chest.
- In infants and children, "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease" may cause repeated vomiting,
coughing, and other respiratory problems. Most babies grow out
of chronic acid reflux disease by their first birthday.
- If you have been using antacids for more than 2 weeks, it
is time to see a doctor. Most doctors can treat "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease". Or you
may want to visit an internist - a doctor who specializes in
internal medicine - or a gastroenterologist - a doctor who treats
diseases of the stomach and intestines.
- Doctors usually recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to relieve heartburn. Many people with chronic acid reflux disease also need medication. Surgery may be an option.
Hope Through Research for Chronic Acid Reflux Disease
No one knows why some people who have heartburn develop "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease". Several factors may be involved, and research is under way on many levels. Risk factors - what makes some people get chronic acid reflux disease but not others - are being explored, as is "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease"'s role in other conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
The role of hiatal hernia in chronic acid reflux disease continues to be debated and explored. It is a complex topic because some people have a hiatal hernia without having reflux, while others have reflux without having a hernia.
Much research is needed into the role of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Our ability to eliminate H. pylori has been responsible for reduced rates of peptic ulcer disease and some gastric cancers. At the same time, "Chronic Acid Reflux Disease", Barrett's esophagus, and cancer of the esophagus have increased. Medical researchers wonder whether having H. pylori may help prevent chronic acid reflux disease and other diseases. Future medical treatment will be greatly affected by the results of this research.