Acid reflux is a common condition that affects an estimated 10 million Americans every day. The President of the United States can now be counted among those with this condition. He was recently diagnosed after complaining of a sore throat that lasted for several weeks. Acid reflux is caused by the contents of the stomach backing into the esophagus. Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

According to Dr. Avni Jain, a family medicine physician with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group, there are several symptoms that may indicate a person has acid reflux or GERD. The most common symptom is a burning in the chest, known as heartburn. Other symptoms include:

  • An acid taste in the throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A sore throat or a raspy voice
  • Unexplained cough
  • Stomach or chest pain

Lifestyle changes can help in the treatment of acid reflux. Dr. Faisal Bhinder, a gastroenterologist with Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center advises his patients to lose weight (if overweight), raise the head of their bed 6 to 8 inches, avoid foods that make symptoms worse like sweet, spicy or fried foods, quit smoking, eat several smaller meals per day, avoid alcohol and caffeine and avoid lying down for several hours after a meal. Dr. Bhinder also suggests consulting with a gastroenterologist for evaluation for worrisome changes if patients have had acid reflux for over 5 years and has heartburn more than two times a week.

If you think you may have acid reflux, talk to your primary care physician. To find a primary care physician near you call 1-855-4AMG-DOC (426-4362) or visit www.AdventistMedicalGroup.org.