Possible Complications of Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux disease or GERD, which stands for gastro esophageal reflux disease is a common problem. It is usually diagnosed when the patient suffers from chronic heartburn. While much is spoken about the causes and symptoms, it is important to know the possible complications of acid reflux disease.

As frequent backwash of stomach contents gives the taste of spices, food properties and acidic saliva into esophagus it can affect health in various ways. Hence some possible complications of acid reflux disease are stomach ulcer, esophagus cancer, heart disease, stomach cancer or irregular bowel syndrome.

Possible Complications of Acid Reflux Disease

Possible Complications of Acid Reflux Disease

When acid reflux disease persists for long, it can severely affect the organs through which the acid content passes. Some of the possible complications of acid reflux diseases include

  • Discomfort in chest – Occasional heartburn may not be harmful, but when heartburn and acid reflux continues for a week or more, it can cause great damage. One of the commonest possible complications of acid reflux disease includes esophagitis. The inflammation in esophagus can be dangerous, as the swelling narrows the passage.
  • Even cells of esophagus lining are altered and this change is called Barrett’s esophagus. The acute stage of the particular disease may lead to cancer. Hence, its percentage is very less in comparison to other major diseases.
  • Itching in vocal cord or breathing disorder are also some common possible complications of acid reflux disease.

Here are some possible complications of acid reflux disease related to major problems.

Complications of Heart

When acid reflux increases heart burn, it also leads to crushing pain in chest. If not treated on time, it may elevate to a heart attack. The blood vessels become narrow, clots starts forming and patient gets repeated chest pain. Usually people have antacids when such severe heartburns occur, but when they are not treated on time, then it may cause complications for heart.

Bleeding and Ulcers

This is another major complication of acid reflux, if left untreated; bleeding of stomach lining and chronic ulcer. Scars are formed in the stomach lining because of constant sustainability of acids. After a certain time period they can turn into polyps and scars. They start to bleed which can be fatal at times.

Esophageal Cancer

This is the most dangerous complication of acid reflux disease, especially in chronic sufferers. Those who have been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus should undergo periodic endoscopy and esophagus biopsies so that pre-cancer cell accumulation check can be done to avoid that fatal disease.

Asthma and Extreme Breathing Disorder

Fluid present in the intestine may reflux back with the acidic formations and could reach to lungs. This process results into choking, severe allergies, breathing problems and even third stage pneumonia. Asthma is one of the chief possible complications of acid reflux disease in those suffering from long. However, asthma condition further worsens acid reflux disease and hence the condition should be treated immediately under specialist supervision.

Other Common Complications Of Acid Reflux Disease

There are some more complications of acid reflux disease, which may be not be always severe but can affect health in various ways.

  • Sleep disorder
  • Halitosis i.e. bad breath
  • Unknown growth on the vocal cord area
  • Lump formation in throat
  • Earache
  • Dental problems and severe pain in gums
  • Chronic hoarseness

Due to constant pressure of acid reflux, people starts feeling that their esophagus passage is narrower and have thick mucus lining formed inside which is extremely acidic. No matter how much water the sufferer drinks or consumes antacids, the pain and heartburn does not go gradually until and unless proper medical treatment is provided.

Complications of Acid Reflux Disease in Elders

Acid reflux disease is commonly found in older adults who are above 60 years of age. However, symptoms are few but complications are higher. Life threatening esophageal complications of acid reflux disease in elders are the result of prolonged illness. Typical chest pain stimulates angina pectoris, ear, throat and nose manifestations. Chronic cough, pulmonary aspiration and Globus sensation are the major complications of acid reflux in elderly.

How to Control Acid Reflux?

You can avoid major complications of acid refluxes by taking regular antacid medication prescribed by the doctor. Drinking water at regular intervals and consuming less spicy food is beneficial in the long run. Many people find coconut water, turmeric milk and almonds as a very soothing home remedy to prevent acid refluxes time to time. Over eating should be avoided, spicy food, junk food, breads, cold drinks and caffeinated beverages should be completely avoided for some time till the acid reflux gets cured. Green tea and antioxidant aloe vera juice are very helpful in curing major complications of acid reflux. The passage of esophagus could regain its natural shape when mucus lining is covered by the drugs timely. Smoking and drinking alcohol during treatment of acid reflux should be completely avoided or else adverse effects may occur resulting into severe complications like heart attack, asthma, choking of lungs or irregular bowel movements.

Final thought

The lifestyle of young adults is gradually depriving in terms of discipline and work schedule. Day by day, irregular sleeping pattern, alteration in meals, faulty dietary habits, over consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol and irregular bowel movements. So, in case you are facing acid refluxes frequently after meals or on empty stomach in the morning, it must be treated at once, to avoid possible complications.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

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