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Acid Reflux Symptoms or Excerpts from Traffic Regulations

The definition of “symptom” in medicine sounds like this: any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease.

In order to make this definition a little bit closer to the real everyday life, where all the people live, let me illustrate it with the following allegory.

Any disease looks like a road. This road can be short or long, straight and easy to go or very complicated with many turns and deadlocks. But any road has traffic signs, which warn a driver about the potential dangers and tell him where this or that road leads. The role of symptoms in medicine is very close to the role of traffic signs on the road.

If a driver is an experienced one and understands the signs, he can react adequately to the situation and avoid dangerous places and deadlocks. If a person understands the symptoms of at least the most common diseases, he/she can also react adequately and call a doctor or take a medicine in order to cure the disease or avoid its further development and complications.

One of such roads, where practically any of us may find oneself, is acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Below there is a description of the main symptoms or traffic signs of this road.

Sign 1. Heartburn This is the major sign in defining the road of acid reflux. Actually, anyone may meet this sign, but if it recurs every two miles (if a person experiences heartburn more than 2 days per week), it is a high time to call traffic police (to call your doctor).

Though heartburn is described as the uncomfortable, rising and burning sensation in the middle of the chest behind the breastbone, it has nothing to do with the heart. It is caused by the reflux of acids from stomach to esophagus. Thus, it is more common after meal or when a person is in horizontal position (for example, lying on a bed).

Sign 2. Regurgitation This sign denotes situation, when the gastric acids and sometimes even small amounts of food back flow from the stomach, reach upper esophagus and break into throat and mouth. As a result, people may feel sour or bitter taste in their mouths. Due to the fact that refluxed liquid contains acids, frequent or prolonged regurgitation may lead to erosion of the tooth enamel.

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These two signs define major and the most typical symptoms of acid reflux disease. However, there are several other signs to pay attention at. They are: - nausea (or nausea with vomiting); - difficult and/or painful swallowing; - hoarseness (especially in the morning); - non-cardiac chest pain; - upset stomach; - persistent cough.

Finally I would like to underline that it is obligatory for all drivers to know traffic regulations. To know diseases’ symptoms is obligatory only for doctors, not for patients. But if a patient can define and describe his/her symptoms clearly and correctly, it is a real help for a doctor in making a right diagnosis and prescribing the most efficient treating.


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