With as busy as people are today with work, school, family commitments and countless other duties, it is little wonder that many individuals lack the time or focus to eat a balanced diet. As they rely on fast food, processed frozen entrees or eating in a hurry to keep their stomachs full during the week, an increased number of people today are finding that they suffer from acid reflux more often.
Mild indigestion can typically be taken care of with a bicarbonate of soda or over-the-counter antacids. However, if your gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, fails to respond to these simple measures, you should know when to see your doctor for better treatment of this condition. These GERD symptoms indicate that you should see medical attention promptly.
1) Chest Pain
Chest pain, especially if it is comes on sudden or is particularly sharp, almost always demands that you seek immediate medical help. While you may initially believe that you are having a heart attack, you more than likely are suffering from severe acid reflux. In fact, a recent study showed that 57 percent of chest pain patients actually suffered from GERD rather than a heart attack.
The study also showed that women were more likely to experience GERD-related chest pain than men. Indeed, women reported suffering worse acid reflux when they were lying down; men, on the other hand, reported having worse symptoms when they were in an upright position. Regardless of what position you are in, however, you should see your doctor right away if you experience severe chest pain.
2) Symptoms of Shock
Shock-like symptoms, including sudden weakness, dizziness, fainting or confusion demand that you go to the emergency room immediately. Barring other causes, your symptoms may stem from severe acid reflux. When you get prompt help, your doctor can begin treatment immediately and save you from passing out or suffering neurological damages from this condition.
3) Abdominal Cramping
When you have an upset stomach or moderate indigestion, it is normal to experience cramping in your abdomen. However, if your cramps persist, fail to respond to antacids, using the bathroom, or resting, or are accompanied by black or tarry stools, you should go to the ER or make an appointment with your doctor right away. Severe cramps may indicate that you have suffered bleeding or another type of damage in your stomach or intestines.
4) Difficulty Swallowing Food or Pain When Eating
Feeling like you are choking or unable to swallow food is an abnormal symptom that often accompanies severe acid reflux. If you cannot get your food to go down your esophagus or feel like you are choking when you eat, you would do well to see your physician promptly. This symptom may indicate that your esophagus has been damaged from stomach acid.
Likewise, if eating and swallowing food has become painful for you, you likewise are urged to contact your doctor. Your throat and mouth could be severely damaged from the constant reflux of acid. Your doctor can administer immediate treatment to relieve your pain.
5 Chronic Coughing
If you have a chronic cough, it may stem from something more than bronchitis, allergies or the common cold. It may actually be caused by GERD. When you suffer from a cough that will not be quieted by cough suppressants, antihistamines, or even a rescue inhaler, you should ask your doctor to test you for acid reflux. A proper diagnosis can help your doctor prescribe you the correct treatment for your GERD-related cough.
6) Shifting of Pain in Stomach or Abdomen
Mild acid reflux typically occurs in the same place each time you experience a flare-up of your symptoms. However, if the pain moves around your stomach or chest or it relocates to a new area entirely, you should go to the ER or your doctor immediately. This symptom could signal that the damage from this disease is rapidly expanding into a new location in your body or that you are developing ulcers.
7) Uncontrollable Weight Loss
GERD can rob your body of the nutrients it needs to maintain your weight. If you are losing weight and cannot stop the pace at which this loss is occurring, you need to visit with your physician quickly. If you delay treatment, you could suffer from nutritional deficiencies and a weakened immune system. Your doctor can give you the proper remedy to curb the acid reflux and help your body retain and regain the weight that you have lost.
An increased number of men and women today suffer from chronic acid reflux. This condition, known as GERD or gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease can cause extensive damage in your body if you fail to have it treated promptly. While milder cases respond well to over-the-counter remedies like antacids or baking soda, severe acid reflux often accompanies serious and life-threatening symptoms that require your immediate attention. These seven symptoms of severe GERD signal your immediate need to go to an emergency room or visit with your physician promptly.