Acid reflux can land you in trouble

Diet, Sedentary Lifestyle Main Causes

Acid reflux is a common health problem for which most of us depend on oral medication such as antacids. However, it is an ailment that can have serious health repurcussions.

Doctors say that acid reflux occurs when there is excessive acid production in stomach and it flows back (refluxes) into the food pipe (oesophagus). In extreme cases, surgery is required to create a barrier preventing the reflux of stomach acid.

Nearly 15 to 20 per cent of all OPD cases we are seeing these days include patients suffering from acid reflux. Unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are the two main reasons. The disease has symptoms common to other serious illnesses like heart attack. “We recently got a patient who was rushed to a cardiac centre in the middle of the night with severe chest pain and congestion. It later turned out he was suffering from acid reflux probably due to excessive coffee intake and smoking.

Most patients recover from the condition with lifestyle changes and medications soon after, doctors said. In some cases, medicines need to be con tinued for a longer period to control symptoms.

Acid refluxInvolvement of ear, nose and throat in acid reflux is common. “High intake of fatty food leads to excessive acid production in stomach. In such patients, the acid flows back (refluxes) into the food pipe and extends to ear, nose and throat even. It can cause sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and voice problems among others,“ he said. Obese, diabetic patients, pregnant women, children, hiatal hernia patients and smokers are at a higher risk, doctors added.

Those at risk should avoid fatty or fried food, alcohol and caffeine to prevent the onset or recurrence of the disease. “Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.