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
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.
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.