Acid reflux, often referred to as heartburn, is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus.
While occasional acid reflux is normal and manageable, chronic or severe cases can lead to complications. As a result, you may wonder: Is acid reflux a serious condition?
We can answer that for you. Here at Eastside Bariatric & General Surgery in Snellville, Georgia, Dr. Aliu O. Sanni and our team understand this condition and are ready to help.
Acid reflux explained
At its core, acid reflux isn’t usually a cause for immediate concern. Many people experience occasional heartburn after consuming spicy foods, eating large meals, or lying down right after eating.
You can probably manage these instances with over-the-counter medications or lifestyle changes.
But when acid reflux becomes chronic, occurring more than twice a week, you might have a more serious condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can lead to more severe symptoms and potential complications.
Why you should address chronic acid reflux
One of the primary concerns with chronic acid reflux is the damage it can cause to the lining of your esophagus. Over time, constant exposure to stomach acid can lead to inflammation, irritation, and erosion of the esophageal lining, a condition known as esophagitis.
It can result in painful swallowing, bleeding, and even ulcers, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer in some cases.
Moreover, untreated GERD can lead to more severe complications like Barrett's esophagus, which changes the cells of your esophageal lining.
While not everyone with Barrett's esophagus develops cancer, it does increase your risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that can be challenging to treat if not caught early.
In addition, chronic acid reflux can impact your quality of life significantly. Persistent symptoms like chest pain, chronic cough, hoarseness, and disrupted sleep due to nighttime heartburn can affect your daily activities and overall well-being.
If any of these symptoms are familiar to you, we want you to recognize the seriousness of this condition. Contact us immediately if you experience frequent or severe symptoms.
How to take an active role
Lifestyle modifications like making dietary changes, managing your weight, avoiding trigger foods, and elevating your head while sleeping can help manage milder cases. Over-the-counter medications like antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can also provide relief.
If your symptoms persist despite these measures, or if you have concerns about potential complications, schedule an appointment at our practice as soon as possible.
Dr. Sanni can consult with you and provide a comprehensive evaluation. He may recommend further tests like endoscopy or pH monitoring to assess the extent of your condition and determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
While occasional acid reflux is common and manageable, chronic acid reflux, especially when diagnosed as GERD, can lead to serious complications and significantly affect your health. '
Seeking our medical advice for your acid reflux can help you get control of it. Schedule an appointment with our team in Snellville, Georgia, today by calling 201-565-0876 or booking online now.