Chronic Heartburn and Complications: Understanding Long-Term Effects and Risks

Chronic Heartburn and Complications: Understanding Long-Term Effects and Risks

What is Heartburn?

If you've ever had heartburn after a heavy meal or certain trigger foods, you're certainly not alone. Heartburn is when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing that burning feeling. When heartburn becomes persistent and recurring, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition - gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is a more severe form of acid reflux, where the lower esophageal sphincter weakens or relaxes abnormally, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus consistently.

If left untreated, chronic heartburn can lead to various complications, so it's always a good idea to check in with a gastroenterologist if you're suffering from gastroenterological issues like heartburn. Dr. Sushil Rattan and Dr. Radman Mostaghim at GI Med Health in Greenbelt, MD are well experienced in dealing with heartburn.

Long-Term Effects and Risks of Untreated GERD

Esophagitis

The constant exposure to stomach acid can lead to inflammation of the esophagus, a condition known as esophagitis. This inflammation can cause pain, and difficulty swallowing, and may even lead to the formation of ulcers.

Barrett's Esophagus and Cancer

Chronic irritation of the esophagus can cause changes in the lining of the tissue, a condition called Barrett's esophagus. This increases the risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer. If you have chronic heartburn, regular check-ups with a gastroenterologist are crucial. Dr. Rattan and Dr. Mostaghim at GI Med Health in Greenbelt, MD can help.

Stricture Formation

Scar tissue may develop in the esophagus due to prolonged exposure to stomach acid, leading to the narrowing of the esophageal passage. This condition is known as a stricture and can result in difficulty swallowing and may require medical intervention.

Respiratory Issues

As stomach acid can travel up into both the throat and the lungs, chronic heartburn can contribute to respiratory problems like asthma, chronic cough, or pneumonia.

Dental Complications

Prolonged exposure to stomach acid can lead to irreversible damage to teeth. This can lead to cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other dental problems.

Book Your Consultation

Chronic heartburn isn't something you need to live with. With the right support from Dr. Rattan and Dr. Mostaghim, you can manage the symptoms of chronic heartburn. Book your appointment at GI Med Health in Greenbelt, MD by calling (301) 982-7900 today.

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