Gastroesophageal Airway Disease (GERD) - Acid Reflux Disease Q & A
What Is GERD?
GERD stands for gastroesophageal airway disease. The condition is chronic and, over time, can result in damage to the esophagus. It is characterized by stomach acid or the contents of the stomach forcing their way back up into the esophagus. If the backwash occurs more than two times per week, it is considered to be a chronic condition and should be treated accordingly to reduce irritation and discomfort. GERD often results in a burning sensation similar to that of heartburn. Mild symptoms may be able to be treated with changes in lifestyle and medication. Severe symptoms that are difficult to control may need to be addressed through more vigorous forms of treatment, including surgery.
Can GERD Be Stress Related?
GERD is a chronic condition that affects the digestive tract. It is characterized by stomach acid that flows backward, up into the esophagus, causing irritation. When a person is under extremely high levels of stress, the amount of stomach acid that is produced increases. The more acid that is present in the stomach, the higher the risk of it being forced into the esophagus. If the stress continues, the excess acid can not only irritate the lining of the stomach, but can also begin to damage the esophagus. Learning how to effectively manage stress levels will help to keep excessive amounts of stomach acid from becoming a problem.
Is Acid Reflux Disease Preventable?
Acid reflux disease can be controlled, if not prevented with medications and lifestyle changes if the symptoms are mild. Reducing stress and eating foods that help to improve digestion are just two effective ways to minimize the amount of stomach acid that is produced. Individuals who overeat or who have gained an excessive amount of weight may have stretched or weakened the small, circular muscle that controls the flow of food and liquid between the esophagus and stomach. Once this has weakened, either through the pressure of too much weight or from forcing large amounts of food through the opening, acid reflux can result. If this occurs, surgery may be needed to help correct the problem.