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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Evolution of Disease

You've seen them all. The advertising for those 'new' diseases. The ones that suddenly are the 'disease du jour.' Acid Reflux. GERD.  Who hasn't heard of these dire disasters about to befall each and every American who watches television.

Acid reflux... it sounds like that old Pepto Bismol ad for 'in-di-ges-tion! The ad that made you feel like you weren't part of the 'in crowd' if you didn't suffer from it. What is acid reflux? A problem that sounds almost as bad as it feels! Acid reflux is when partially digested food and the acid from your stomach come back up the esophagus while you are suffering from H-E-A-R-T-B-U-R-N! Ugh! Can't say it sounds like fun! These symptoms could mean you are suffering from GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) where the acid can damage your esophagus if you suffer from it long enough.

What can you do to beat reflux? Some physicians may prescribe some proton pump inhibitors and other digestive aiding drugs to help with digestion and help heal your esophagus. See a specialist and get evaluated A.S.A.P.

Another way to avoid reflux? Avoid the foods that trigger it in you, things like chocolate, tomatoes, fried foods, caffeine, onions or alcohol. Eating after 7PM is especially problematic for patients who suffer from reflux. If you think food may be the problem, start an elimination diet to discover which food is the culprit.

Another option, relax. I know, it sounds simple, but I know for many of you it isn't. Build enough flexibility into your day so you can relieve stress and tension.  Another option, no more girdle or spanx! I don't know a woman alive who wouldn't love to ditch her girdle (if she's old enough to still be wearing one!) It seems any kind of control panties or girdles can cause problems. The easiest option? Let gravity work for you. Prop up the head of your bed when you sleep approximately six inches for some preventive medicine that's inexpensive and easy!

A harder option, shed some of those excess pounds! GROAN! Also take the time to chew food all the way before swallowing.  This will help your digestive enzymes break down the food you eat. Other options? Eat cooked veggies, try natural soothers like aloe very juice, and chew gum to relieve acid. Add ginger root supplements to your daily vitamins.

To avoid stress try yoga, meditation or massage (OK, now you are on my page! I must have a massage!) Acupuncture  (another personal favorite of mine) is another option to improve symptoms when used with drugs to reduce acid production.

So no matter what your choice of treatments might be (and I suspect it will be a combination of the above), it's important to start treatment NOW! You really don''t want holes in your esophagus! So beat the stress, beat the GERD, beat the reflux! And take some time to watch the birds at your bird feeder (or even the squirrels who keep trying to steal their food!)

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