Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How many people are affected by acid reflux disease or GERD?
Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that about 7 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from GERD.
Here are some statistics from other sources: At least 7% of the U.S. population has heartburn every day, 14% experience it once a week. 20% of the U.S. population experiences GERD. 35% of overweight people experience reflux. (sources: Digestive Diseases in the United States, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)
What is the difference between acid reflux disease and GERD?
The terms are basically interchangeable.
What is the difference between heartburn and GERD (or acid reflux disease)?
GERD is the name given to the “disease” and heartburn is its most common symptom.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is commonly characterized as a burning sensation behind the breastbone due to the refluxing of stomach acid into the esophagus. Everyone experiences heartburn occasionally, but frequent heartburn is a sign that something may be wrong.
What complications can develop if acid reflux is left go?
A small percent of people will develop the following: Barrett’s Esophagus (may lead to cancer), breathing problems, asthma (not conclusively proven), inflammation of vocal cords, narrowing of esophagus and esophageal scarring or ulcers. Having reflux means the digestive system is not functioning properly and this affects the whole body.
Can GERD be cured?
Unfortunately, the conventional medical opinion is that GERD, in general, cannot be cured with present medical knowledge. It can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications or surgery in worst cases. Surgery does not cure the problem, if you don’t change the underlying problem, you will wind up in the same or worse shape.
What is a cure?
Cure: a successful treatment of a disease. Treatment: a remediation. Remedy: a solution to a problem.
What should I do if I think I have acid reflux?
See your doctor, research and learn all you can about this problem.