Doctor is In: Acid Reflux and GERD - FOX 32 News Chicago


Doctor is In: Acid Reflux and GERD

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What is your gut telling you? Several viewers asked some questions in the live chat room hosted by Deena Centofanti and Dr. Amit Bhan, M.D. Gastroenterologist, Henry Ford Hospital. 

Read the questions posed and the answers given in the chat room replay.  Also play the video to geto some insight on GERD and other stomach issues as Deean interviews Dr. Bhan.

Dr. Bhan is the Section Chief of Gastroenterology at Henry Ford West Bloomfield and Columbus Center. He specializes in a variety of common digestive issues, including acid reflux, GERD , pancreatic and biliary disorders and diseases of the small intestine and colon.
Dr. Bhan is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School.
To learn more about the Gastroenterology services offered at Henry Ford Hospital, visit <>.
·           More than 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once a month. Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can produce a variety of symptoms. As many as 4 in 10 Americans have symptoms of GERD.
·           GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.
·           Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD.
·           GERD costs billions each week in lost productivity, and greatly affects the healthcare system in terms of number/percentage of people affected by the condition, and the amount of money spent annually to treat patients.
*Acid Reflux vs. GERD: What's the Difference?
·           Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are closely related, but the terms don't necessarily mean the same thing; these two conditions are different in both severity and treatment.
·           Sometimes acid reflux progresses to GERD, a more severe form of reflux.
·           The most common symptom of GERD is frequent heartburn. Other signs and symptoms may include regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain - especially while lying down at night.
·           For occasional acid reflux, lifestyle changes can help: Lose excess weight, eat smaller meals, and avoid foods that seem to trigger heartburn (fried or fatty foods, chocolate, and peppermint). Avoiding alcohol and nicotine may help, too.
*When to See a Doctor*
·           Patients should see their physician if they experience: Weight loss, difficulty swallowing, anemia or gastrointestinal blood loss associated with GERD
·           Frequent (daily) use of antacid medications also signal that it's time to see a physician.
*Treatment: Risks of Long-Term Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Use*
·           PPI has been available for commercial use for nearly 25 years for patients with moderate to severe gastric acid-related diseases, including GERD.
·           PPIs include well-known medications such as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec.
·           They are one of the safest classes of medications that gastroenterologists prescribe. Yet despite this, there have been emerging concerns with reports of potential adverse effects associated with use of PPIs.
·           FDA has said that long-term use and high doses of PPIs have been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures and infection with a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C Diff) that can be especially dangerous to elderly patients.
*GERD: Risk for Barrett's Esophagus, Esophageal Cancer*
·           Barrett's esophagus Barrett's esophagus, most often diagnosed in people who have long-term GERD, is a condition in which the cells of your lower esophagus become damaged, usually from repeated exposure to stomach acid.
·           Only a small percentage of people with GERD will develop Barrett's esophagus.
·           Barrett's esophagus can be concerning because it increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
·           Although the risk of esophageal cancer is small, monitoring of Barrett's esophagus focuses on periodic exams to find precancerous esophagus cells. If precancerous cells are discovered, further monitoring with surveillance endoscopy and possible therapies are entertained.
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