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For many people, the first sign of Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) is heartburn. This pain sometimes begins by waking a person during the night with symptoms of heartburn in the throat and upper chest. Sometimes it can even occur in the middle of the abdomen. However, in some persons it is not accompanied by heartburn, but by dry cough, asthma like symptoms or trouble swallowing.
There are foods and factors that contribute to this condition, including chocolate, fatty foods, alcohol, citrus and tomato based foods. Smoking, pregnancy and obesity add to the possibility of GERD.
When there is a problem between the sphincter, the esophagus, and the stomach it could cause GERD. The problem allows acidic stomach juices to back up into the esophagus from the stomach. If the sphincter between them becomes stretched out like an overused elastic band it can become a problem. This leads to some or all of the symptoms listed above.
What causes some people to develop GERD is still a mystery. Some research does show that people who have GERD have a relaxed LES. LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a small valve located between the esophagus and the stomach. The esophagus itself continues to work, but not the LES valve. There can be some deviations in the organs that contribute to the problem. For instance, hiatal hernia could be a large contributor to GERD. This hernia happens in the upper part of the stomach and the LES shift over the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle wall meant to separate the stomach and the chest. The diaphragm should keep acid from rising into the esophagus.
Note that the hiatal hernia may occur in anyone – age, gender, and race do not appear to be factors; however, it is mostly found in healthy people over the age of 50. Surprisingly, there are almost no symptoms. Note that GERD can occur more often in people who do have a hiatal hernia.
How can you best keep yourself from suffering with GERD? We know that obesity, smoking, and pregnancy contribute the GERD; therefore, keeping your weight in the normal range and not smoking will afford you some protection against this condition. Also, avoiding the foods that contribute to this condition, including chocolate, fatty foods, alcohol, citrus and tomato based foods will help. Sleeping with a wedge pillow to keep your body more upright is another way to control the GERD problem.
There are amazing natural supplements that can and will provide tremendous relief to persons suffering with GERD, such as digestive enzymes. Of course, there are prescribed medications that your physician can provide. However, there are always the risks of side effects with medications because many of them contain harmful chemicals and additives present in them. Consider taking a natural digestive enzymes supplement especially designed for GERD relief.
As always, before you decide to take a dietary supplement, be sure and check with your doctor or your primary health care provider to make sure the supplement is safe for you and will not interfere with any prescribed medication you may be taking.