by Judith G Cobb, MH, CI, NCP
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, affects up to 28% of North Americans, 26% of Europeans, 12% of Australians, and 23% of South Americans.1 This condition goes by other names as well, including acid indigestion, acid reflux, acid regurgitation, heartburn, and reflux.
In North America alone, one in five people suffer an acid reflux or indigestion episode on a weekly basis, and two in five endure an episode every month.
Over the span of 1998 to 2005, the incidence of hospitalizations for GERD in the US increased 216%2. We often think of this as a ‘man’s problem’, when in fact it affects women, children, and babies.3
GERD is the result of the sphincter between the lower end of the esophagus and the top of the stomach not closing properly to keep stomach contents in the stomach. This allows the acidic stomach contents to backwash up into the alkaline esophagus.
The weakened lower esophageal sphincter may be a genetic issue with a corresponding iris indicator, or it may be earned, which will not show an iris indicator.
Whether the issue is genetic or earned, the lower esophageal sphincter can be weakened by overeating, being overweight, pregnancy, wearing clothing that is tight around the midsection, smoking, some medications,4 and having a hiatal hernia.5
Foods can also impact episodes of GERD. Coffee, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, citrus, chocolate, and fried or fatty foods can all cause GERD episodes.6
The less serious, non-chronic version is called GER. Sadly, many people do not seek treatment until their symptoms are severe, and damage, which is often difficult to reverse, has been done.
Common symptoms of GER and GERD include a burning sensation in the chest, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and feeling like there’s a lump in the throat. These symptoms can be very similar to a heart attack! Seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have symptoms that have not yet been ascribed to GERD.
Sometimes GERD happens during the night, while the person is sleeping. It can create seemingly unrelated symptoms such as a chronic cough, laryngitis, asthma (or makes asthma worse), or disrupted sleep.
As always, prevention is the best medicine.
Watch this 4-minute video to learn some practical things to recommend to clients to support their stomachs:
And watch the webinar recorded on 29 August 2018:
Copyright © 2018 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).