We talk about COPD on this site a lot but I have never seen anyone cover the topic of GERD, also known as Gastoesophageal Reflux Disorder. I am here to tell you it is real and it affects thousands of people and can also be greatly prevented by NOT SMOKING. The bad news is.......
GERD IS A PERCURSOR TO CANCER. It is not cancer but left untreated it may develop into cancer and smokers are at a higher risk.
So you ask...What is GERD? In short it is stomach acid traveling backwards into your esophagus. The continuous pattern of this event cause many symptoms along with damage.
Studies have now linked GERD to Smokers. Smokers are more likely to have complications with GERD than the average person who does not smoke.
Following is a short list of how SMOKING can cause GERD
1. Smoking relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter ( LES ) a muscular valve that located between your esophagus and stomach that prevents stomach acid and stomach contents from coming back up into your esophagus.
2. Smoking REDUCES your ability to produce saliva which is necessary to
help neutralize stomach acids ,not to mention protect your gums and teeth.
3. Smoking increases Acid production in your stomach
4. Smoking Interferes with the esophagus ability to relax therefore damage to the esophagus lining ( abnormal cells ) can begin to develop over time. These cells can turn into precancerous cells known as Barrettes Esophagus. Left untreated and even treated....can turn into Cancer of the Esophagus. ( jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007 can enlighten you on this better than I can ).
FOLLOWING ARE THE SYMPTOMS I HAD
1. Awoke from deep sleep to acid coming up and had to vomit without warning.
2. Inability to swallow some foods or food getting 'stuck' often.
3. Not able to lay flat in bed at night. Used several pillows and had to raise head of bed.
4. Teeth were loosing enamel.
5. lack of sleep/quality = low energy
6. Unable to eat normal meals and many foods
7. Towards end I would vomit without warning during the day.
8. Weight loss
9. Horrible pressure in center of chest...that got worse. Mimics heart attack.
10. Impaired breathing. Often misdiagnosed as Asthma, which I was
This was all the beginning. I have dealt with this for over 12 years. I got to the point that medication no longer provided any relief. Through all the fun tests I had to go through ( I am exaggerating of course) Ph testing, manometry , scopes....yada yada yada....The Docs came to the conclusion I also had developed a Hiatal Hernia ( 90% of my stomach had budged through my diaphragm). The Hernia was graded at HILLS GRADE 4 and I had developed LA GRADE C Esophagitis. Surgery was my option Nissen or LINX. Apparently Hiatal Hernias are very common with GERD. Maybe someone else can tell us why?
Long story short, there are a couple surgeries for this and I elected the LINX procedure because it seemed less invasive .They were able to repair the hernia at the same time. This was 5 days ago and other than localized pain and I tire easily.....I am am doing great.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT.
Just another reason NOT to smoke and what smoking gives back to you...
THE BOTTOM LINE IS....
WITH FRIENDS LIKE CIGARETTES AND GERD.....
WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?
( Don't say you weren't warned )