Individuals who suffer acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with prompt and the right treatment will not experience any major complications. In severe instances of GERD, however, the chances in suffering from GERD-related complications are high. If you have longstanding acid reflux, then you need to see a physician to examine yourself for any of the following conditions:
Esophageal strictures – This is a condition where the esophageal tract slowly narrows giving the sufferer difficulties in swallowing. Without treatment, acid reflux patients are almost 25% likely to develop esophageal stricture. To examine for esophageal cancer, the doctor will usually perform a biopsy of the inflamed tissue.
Erosive esophagitis – This is an inflammation and swelling of the esophagus because of the acid and stomach content flowing back into the esophagus. This causes pain and difficulty in swallowing and hemorrhaging of the esophagus that can be sometimes evidenced in blood in the stool or vomit and a feeling of a lump in the sufferer’s throat
Barrett’s esophagus – This is an issue wherein the esophagus lining changes and becomes tissue that is found in the intestine. Sadly, Barrett’s esophagus disease can develop into a worse complication called esophageal cancer. Fortunately, only a small number of people with GERD will get Barrett’s esophagus and a smaller percentage of them will get esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer – This type of cancer is starting to become one of the more common forms of cancer in Western society. Esophageal cancer is a condition wherein the esophageal tissue develops malignant cancer cells. Unfortunately, there is a strong connection between acid reflux and esophageal cancer and this is one very compelling reason to see a doctor if you experience frequent symptoms of heartburn.
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