Millions of Americans suffer from Gerd, a chronic digestive disease that happens when stomach acid flows back into your food pipe.
A lot of people know the condition causes heartburn, but there's a lot more to it.
Lou Baxter reports on five common myths.
It can strike suddenly.
Wayne Vanek, who has acid reflux, says: "Chest pain and I got to the place where I almost thought I was having a heart attack."
Chronic heartburn, known as Gerd, affects more than 21-million Americans, but there are a lot of myths out there. The first: It's not serious. Doctor James Rosser says it can actually develop into a deadly disease.
James C. Rosser, Jr., MD, general surgeon, says: "It can lead to the fastest growing cancer in America: esophageal cancer."
Another myth: Heartburn is the only sign. In fact, a dry cough, sinus problems and even asthma are also symptoms.
Dr. Rosser, "Up to sixty percent of the patients in this country with asthma are theorized to be caused by acid reflux."
You might believe medicine will take care of it, but Dr. Rosser says the truth is drugs alone cure less than half of patients. Some think diet doesn't make a difference when dealing with Gerd, but they're wrong! Soy milk, Manuka honey, chamomile tea, bananas and oatmeal can reduce symptoms. But stay away from chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods and canned foods.
Dr. Rosser, "Canned foods are terrible, and you know why? Because in order to extend the shelf life, they have a lot of acid in the canned foods."
The last myth: Gerd only affects adults. Kids, even babies can have reflux, but Dr. Rosser says no matter what your age there's help!
Dr. Rosser, "You don't have to settle being miserable. That would be my take-away."
Lou Baxter, Jet 24 Action News.
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