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What is Gerd?

By Emily Lockhart

GERD (otherwise known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease) disrupts the daily lives of North American’s on a mass scale. We’re all familiar with that common burning feeling can ruin a nice meal or interfere with work after a decadent lunch. However, GERD literally bullies your social life, and it can even cause serious sleep disruptions.

It’s loosely estimated that more than 60 million Americans suffer from GERD at some point during their lives or experience the common signs. However, the exact prevalence of GERD is unknown (as it’s more than often misdiagnosed). The reality is that this chronic digestive disease can be very painful and often life limiting.

GERD occurs when stomach acid and even bile flows back (or refluxes) into the esophagus (or food pipe in your throat). It’s this backwash of stomach acid that causes the familiar burning sensation in your chest. That feeling is actually the acid irritating the lining of your esophagus.

The common symptoms of GERD are often mistaken for normal heartburn. They include:

  • Heartburn, or that irritating burning sensation in your chest and throat
  • A sour aftertaste in your mouth
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dysphagia or general stomach discomfort
  • Excessive burping
  • Nausea after eating
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort in the upper ab area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough or horseness
  • Irritated sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food or acid reflux
  • Feeling an invisible lump in your throat

Emily Lockhart

Contributor

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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