Although millions of Americans experience heartburn every year, some people bear an increased risk of suffering from persistent reflux. Understanding who gets acid reflux can help you evaluate your risk factors and determine whether to seek treatment. It’s important to remember that pursuing treatment early can help you avoid more serious conditions like Barrett’s esophagus and even esophageal cancer.
If you’re concerned about acid reflux, don’t hesitate to contact La Peer Health Systems’ Reflux Surgery Center of Excellence for a consultation. Call (888) 593-1042 to schedule an appointment.
Acid Reflux Risk Factors
Men, women and children can all suffer from acid reflux. However, the following groups of people have a higher risk of developing the condition:
- People with certain dietary habits – Certain foods and beverages may increase one’s risk of suffering from reflux. If you’re experiencing chronic heartburn, you may want to consider removing the following food and drink items from your diet: alcohol, coffee, citrus fruits and juices, fatty and fried foods, tomato products and garlic.
- Elderly people – While people of all ages can develop acid reflux, the condition is often more serious among the elderly.
- Infants under a year – GERD can cause vomiting, respiratory issues, sore throats and ear infections in infants. The good news is that the condition typically resolves itself within a year.
- Pregnant women – Due to increased pressure on the stomach, pregnant women tend to suffer a higher risk of developing acid reflux.
- People who are obese – Studies suggest that obesity contributes to GERD and inflammation of the esophagus. Losing weight may help to alleviate reflux symptoms.
- People who suffer from asthma and respiratory diseases – Certain respiratory conditions including asthma have been linked to an increased risk of GERD, in part due to the blocked airflow in the lungs.
- People who snack before bed – Snacking before bed and lying down after meals are both habits that can contribute to reflux.
- People who smoke – Smoking reduces saliva production and affects muscle reflexes in the throat. Further, smoking can lead to respiratory issues like lung cancer and emphysema, both of which are risk factors for GERD.
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Who Should See a Doctor?
If you’re experiencing persistent acid reflux symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment before stomach acid causes permanent damage to the esophagus. Getting treated for reflux can help prevent more serious problems such as Barrett’s esophagus.
The gastroenterologists at the Reflux Surgery Center of Excellence advise anyone with one or more of the following symptoms to be evaluated for GERD:
- Heartburn that occurs more than two times per week
- Chest pain following a meal
- Swallowing problems
- Persistent sore throat or cough not accompanied by a cold or flu
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can children develop acid reflux?
A: Reflux and GERD can affect people of all ages, including children. The condition is actually common among babies, though the condition typically resolves itself before the age of one.
Q: How does smoking lead to acid reflux?
A: Smoking decreases the production of saliva and affects muscles in the throat that aid in swallowing. Further, smoking can lead to conditions like lung cancer and emphysema that affect the health of the esophagus.
Q: Is GERD more common among elderly Americans?
A: While people of all ages can develop GERD, the condition is often more serious for elderly patients.
Q: Why do pregnant women develop reflux?
A: Increased pressure on the abdomen can lead to acid reflux in many pregnant women.
Contact the Reflux Surgery Center of Excellence
The fact is that anyone can suffer from acid reflux. However, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Our board-certified gastroenterologists offer a number of effective treatments and procedures to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux and help prevent more serious conditions of the esophagus. Call us at (888) 593-1042 to schedule an appointment at our newly remodeled treatment center in Los Angeles.
Next, read about how acid reflux is diagnosed.