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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Causes and Treatment

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also known as heartburn is a disease that arise when the lower esophageal sphincter opens automatically for varying period of time or does not close accordingly and the stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. Due to the refluxed of acid in the stomach to the lower portion of the esophagus causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn or acid indigestion. There are many factors that may contribute to Gastroesophageal reflux disease, however the two main factors that are very important when dealing with that isease are and not limited to obesity and lifestyle changes.

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There are many studies that linked obesity to the cause of Gastroesophageal reflux disease and some of its complications are erosive esophagitis and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Base on a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies that examined the association between obesity and several Gastroesophageal reflux disease related disorders have linked the symptoms of GERD to esophageal erosions and esophageal adenocarcinoma(p. 2308). An increase in Gastroesophageal reflux disease has been roven to appear in individuals who gain weight but continue to have a body mass index in the normal range.

According to El-Serag(2008), “The effect of weight gain examined in a study by Nilsson et al. [1 3] found that a gain greater than 3. 5 BMI units was associated with an approximately 3-fold increase in the risk of developing new reflux symptoms”(p. 2308). There were a recent large cohort study in women affirmed that even in the normal range of BMI, its possible to have an increase in the risk of Gastroesophageal reflux disease. According to El-Serag(2008), “similar to the indings of Nilsson et al. 1 3], this study also showed that, even in women with BMIs in the normal range, weight gain corresponding to an increase of more than 3. 5 kg/mA2 in BMI increased the risk of Gastroesophageal reflux disease frequency compared with women with no weight changes”(p. 2308). In summary, those studies suggests that obesity is directly linked to the significant increase in the risk of Gastroesophageal reflux disease in both men and women proportionately. Lifestyle changes is by far the most effective way to deal with the development of Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

According to Grodner, Long Roth and Walkingshaw(2012) “Some of the changes that may help manage the symptoms of GERD are: head of bed elevated 6 inches, decreased fat intake, smoking cessation, weight reduction for obese patients, avoid recumbent positions for 3 hours postprandially, small, frequent meals, avoidance of certain foods, avoidance of tight, waist-constricting clothing, antacid or antacid product containing alginic acid, over the counter histamine H2 receptor blocker and stool softeners”(p. 375).

Removing some foods from the diet might help improve Gastroesophageal reflux disease, owever it is crucial to know that everyone may react to certain food differently than others. The most effective way to accommodate with the dietary modifications is by eliminating food that you cannot tolerate one by one to monitor the effect. The list of food that may have an association with reflux events include: citrus fruits, spicy s, cnocolate, caTTelnatea Deverages, nlgn Tat Tooas re Tooa, raw garllc, raw onions, mint flavoring and tomato-based foods.

There are many studies that has been taking place to find out whether or not a very low-carbohydrate diet improves astroesophageal reflux disease and its symptoms. According to Austin, Thiny, Westman, Yancy and Shaheen(2006), “a previous small case series showed a significant, almost immediate resolution of Gastroesophageal reflux disease in obese individuals initiating one type of a very low-carbohydrate diet. However, it is unclear whether these symptom improvements were due to decreased distal esophageal acid exposure, some other physiological change, or a placebd'(p. 307). In a recent cross- sectional study they have found out an increased prevalence of Gastroesophageal eflux disease among those who consuming a high-fat, normal carbohydrate diet. however, in another case they found out a very low-carbohydrate diet improve symptoms related to Gastroesophageal reflux disease. According to Yancy et al. (2006), ” reported a case series of five patients who experienced almost complete resolution of their Gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms within a few days of initiating a very low-carbohydrate diet.

These patients noted return or worsening of their GERD-related symptoms when they attempted to return to a normal level of carbohydrate consumption”(p. 310). In conclusion, obese individuals with Gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms initiating a very low-carbohydrate diet demonstrated improvements, however researchers are not clear about all the results for the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate diet on Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

All in all, Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a very common disease that may affect million of Americans weekly, however following a strict diet and few lifestyle changes may alleviate the symptoms during one’s daily life. References Austin, G. L. , Thiny, M. T. , Westman, E. C. , Yancy,William S. Jr, & Shaheen, N. J. (2006). A very low-carbohydrate diet improves gastroesophageal reflux and its symptoms. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 51(8), 1307-12. ot: http://dx. doi. org/10. 1007/ S10620-005-9027-7 El-serag, H. (2008). The association between obesity and GERD: A review of the epidemiological evidence. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 53(9), 2307-12. dot:http://dx. d0i. orV10. 1007??10620-008-0413-9 Grodner, M. , Roth, S. L. , & Walkingshaw, B. C. (2012). Nutritional foundations and clinical applications: a nursing approach(5th ed. ). St. Louis, Mo. : Mosby/Elsevier.

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