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Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) (cont.)

Acid Reflux (GERD) Prognosis

Reflux disease (GERD) is treatable, but relapses are common, especially if you do not change your lifestyle.

  • For people with mild-to-moderate disease (grades 1-2), home care and H2-blockers are generally effective.
  • Severe esophagitis (grades 3-4) usually requires PPI therapy.
  • If relapses occur, long-term therapy or surgery will be necessary to avoid complications.

Complications of acid reflux can include any of the following. Most of these are rare, but GERD can be the first step toward any of them. The best treatment for any of these is prevention.

  • Esophagitis and esophageal ulcers:  Inflammation, irritation of the lining of the esophagus
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux: When acid from the stomach gets into the throat, the voice becomes hoarse.
  • Bleeding: Due to ulcers in the damaged esophageal lining
  • Strictures: Narrowing of the esophagus due to chronic scarring
  • Swallowing problems: Due to strictures
  • Respiratory problems: When acid from the stomach gets into the breathing passages
  • Barrett's esophagus: Changes in the cells lining the esophagus, a precancerous condition
  • Cancer of the esophagus: Has a very low incidence rate

Acid Reflux (GERD) Pictures

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.

Picture of Acid Reflux (GERD)
Picture of Acid Reflux (GERD)

REFERENCES:

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States.

Medscape. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014
Medical Author:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease »

Gastroesophageal reflux is a normal physiological phenomenon experienced intermittently by most people, particularly after a meal.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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