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GERD Symptoms

Common GERD symptoms may include:

  • a burning feeling rising from the stomach or lower chest up towards the neck (heartburn)
  • A feeling of acid backed up in the esophagus (regurgitation)
  • Chest pain that feels like angina: tightness, pressure, heaviness
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Feeling like there’s a lump in the throat (globus sensation)
  • Hoarseness
  • Bloating
  • Belching

Less common GERD symptoms may include:

  • Loss of tooth enamel
  • Asthma (because acidic juices can make their way into the air passages of the lungs).
  • Sleep apnea: repeated but temporary stop in breathing during sleep, which can lead to restless sleep, morning headaches, and afternoon drowsiness
  • Iron deficiency anemia caused by chronic blood loss from tiny ulcers in the esophagus.

Quality of Life Issues:

For most people GERD symptoms are mild and infrequent, and are considered as no more than an inconvenience. In some cases GERD symptoms can be significant and disabling, seriously affecting the persons quality of life.

A US survey into the impact of GERD on quality of life showed that although more than 60% of suspected GERD sufferers in the USA classify their symptoms as moderate or severe, 35% have not consulted a doctor. 8% of all adults suffer from heartburn or acid reflux at least twice a week and GERD symptoms have a significant negative impact on the patient’s quality of life, with:

  • 75% of sufferers finding sleeping difficult
  • 51% finding work painful
  • 40% finding exercise painful

Testing the acidity of the esophagus in GERD patients using a pH probe frequently reveals an esophageal pH below 4, demonstrating that patients with GERD have extensive esophageal acid exposure. This pH value is the generally accepted cut-off between physiological and pathological reflux and is much more common in patients with symptoms than in patients without. Furthermore, the frequency of GERD symptoms is directly related to the degree of esophageal acid exposure. [Joelsson & Johnsson, 1989]

GERD Symptoms - References

By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 05/02/2010