GERD is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, and is a chronic condition that is often associated with heartburn, but is different. Heartburn, results from GERD, but is an actually one of the GERD symptoms, not the cause; the terms are not synonymous with each other. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is caused by poor working muscles in the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, which allows liquids, stomach acid and food to creep back into the esophagus causing heartburn, along with other symptoms.
Over time the acid produced, can wear away the lining of the esophagus, causing further problems in digestion, as well as respiratory issues. There are several factors that can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, such as smoking, pregnancy, obesity and diabetes. It is important to remember that unlike heartburn, GERD symptoms are chronic and you should seek the help of a medical professional to treat the disease, not simply try to manage the symptoms yourself.
GERD symptoms can be different for different individuals and can manifest themselves in various degrees of severity. Many of the symptoms can happen on in isolation, but when they are combined and chronic, it is a good idea to consult a medical professional about the possibility of having GERD. Some of the most common Gerd symptoms are, heartburn (a burning feeling in your throat and chest), acid reflux (the regurgitation of food or stomach acid, typically recognized by a sour taste), dry mouth, the feeling of a large lump in your throat, dry cough, chest pain, dysphasia (difficulty swallowing) at different severity levels, and a sore throat. While those with gastroesophageal reflux disease may not experience all of these symptoms it is possible to experience them all if the disease goes untreated. These GERD symptoms can be annoying and problematic, there are many over the counter remedies; however, these remedies only treat the symptoms, not the cause. It is best to consult your doctor if any of these symptoms appear together and/or are chronic. It is best to report all symptoms even if you do not think they are related, some of these symptoms can also be indicators of other conditions so be vigilant. For example, chest pain could indicate some cardiac trauma and should be examined immediately. Diagnosing GERD can be tricky, but having the knowledge of the symptoms is the first step in finding a long term solution to the discomfort and possible problems.
The signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease are just as important to know as the symptoms. Early warning signs can help prevent damage in the lining of the esophagus and cause a lot less suffering from the individual symptoms. One of the major signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease is experiencing any or all of the symptoms above; however, it is possible to detect GERD before the GERD symptoms appear chronically. Some common signs of GERD are, the feeling like there is a something stuck in your throat or lower in your esophagus, chronic bad breath or a burp that brings a rotten taste into your mouth, sour or acid taste in your mouth removed from a meal, pain associated with swallowing or difficulty swallowing, coughing fits, a hoarse voice and possible breathing problems. Just like the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease these signs can come together or individually. Also, these signs can be caused by other factors and can appear in isolation, not necessarily the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Since there are so many different possibilities with both the signs and Gerd symptoms it really is essential to seek a medical professional to be diagnosed and treated.