Submitted by Baylor Medical Center
Find out if it’s GERD.
Everyone has heartburn once in a while. But if you have it daily and it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Frequent heartburn is one of the manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In people with GERD, the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. Depending on its severity, GERD is treated with medication or sometimes surgery.
When other symptoms accompany daily heartburn, though, that’s a sign it could be more than GERD. Symptoms to look for include trouble swallowing, regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness, chest pain or rectal bleeding. Waking up at night coughing or choking is another cause for possible concern.
“People with those symptoms may be at particularly high risk for developing complications or problems,” says Praveen Srungaram M.D., a gastroenterologist on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at McKinney. “Chronic reflux may also predispose you to a pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus, which in turn can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is steadily rising in incidence in the United States.”
Because early detection is so important, it’s smart to see a specialist if you’re experiencing significant symptoms. Fairly simple tests can identify exactly what’s going on.
“Sometimes the problem is something other than reflux,” Dr. Praveen Srungarmam says, “but once we diagnose it then we can treat it.”
Do You Have Chronic Heartburn?
Attend a free seminar on Tuesday, January 15 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Baylor Medical Center at McKinney. Call 800.4Baylor to register.
About Baylor Medical Center at McKinney
Located at the northwest corner of Highway 380 and Lake Forest Drive, Baylor McKinney features a 95-bed, full-service hospital and surrounding medical office campus. Hospital services include heart and vascular, cancer, imaging, obstetrics and gynecology, level III NICU with private suites, digestive diseases, orthopedics, general surgery, neurology, internal medicine, emergency care, and outpatient services.
About Baylor Health Care System
Baylor Health Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based supporting organization providing services to a network of acute care hospitals and related health care entities that provide patient care, medical education, research and community service. Baylor recorded more than 2.8 million patient encounters, $4 billion in total operating revenue, $5.2 billion in total assets and $502 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2011 (as reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services). Baylor’s network of more than 300 access points includes 30 owned/operated/ ventured/affiliated hospitals; joint ventured ambulatory surgical centers; satellite outpatient locations; senior centers and more than 180 HealthTexas Provider Network physician clinics. For information visit BaylorHealth.com.