Knowing the various signs and symptoms of a health problem is the best way to address the issue at the earliest. Look out for these lesser-known acid reflux symptoms.
When your stomach acid rises up due to a fault in the valve that separates your stomach contents from the esophagus (the tube connecting your throat and stomach), you suffer from a condition known as acid reflux. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscle in your body that closes tightly after you eat in order to keep the contents of your stomach from rising up, but sometimes it relaxes and allows the acid to travel upward. When this happens, the acid can irritate the tissue in your throat and cause a burning sensation, among other symptoms. Acid reflux can occur due to various factors, which include rapid weight gain, pregnancy, lifestyle, and certain medical conditions.
Millions of people all over the world deal with this condition, and it affects people of all ages, genders, and races. Occasional instances of acid reflux are not a major health condition, although it can be quite annoying; but if you are suffering from frequent or intense acid reflux, do not delay seeking medical help. In some cases, acid reflux can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a more severe form of the condition. If left untreated or in the absence of sufficient treatment, acid reflux can also lead to serious health issues like severe inflammation in your esophagus, throat, stomach, lungs, and even the vocal chords. In extreme case, it can also lead to esophageal cancer.
Knowing the symptoms and noticing the initial signs is one of the most effective ways of dealing with any health condition, and the same goes for acid reflux. Although it is a common problem, acid reflux is often mistaken for something else. In addition, there may be some more signs and symptoms of the condition that you are not even aware of. These symptoms might not be all that simple to spot, leading to a delay in treatment. Here are some of the lesser-known symptoms of acid reflux, some of which may even surprise you. Keep an eye out for these signs, which could indicate that you have acid reflux and need to see a doctor.
Most of us know that uneasiness in the chest or a burning sensation (heartburn) is a classic symptom of acid reflux. However, you may also experience an intense and long-lasting pain in your chest, which is the result of the stomach acid splashing into your esophagus. This sharp pain, a symptom of acid reflux, is often mistaken for a heart attack. If you have a chest pain that seems to last longer than you expected, do not ignore it and get a checkup done to ensure that it is not a heart-related issue. This pain can get worse when you exercise or exert yourself in other physical activities.
If you are suffering from acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week, chances are that the condition has progressed to GERD. This means that the muscle located at the end of your esophagus is not doing its job of closing, thereby allowing the stomach acid to leak and rise up to the esophagus. This irritates the lining, and the cycle of damage and healing after acid reflux can cause scarring over time. In turn, the irritation and scarring leads to inflammation of the lower esophagus tissue and narrows the esophagus. This causes difficulty in swallowing, and can even result in food getting lodged in the esophagus.
Although coughing is not usually associated with acid reflux, stomach acid does have the ability to enter into and irritate your lungs. If you find yourself coughing or experiencing other respiratory symptoms like wheezing after eating, it can be a red flag that indicates acid reflux. In addition, persistent coughing can even trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Getting a pH test that measures the amount of acid in your esophagus over a period of 24 hours can help you determine whether acid reflux is the root of your breathing problems.
More often than not, a hoarseness in our voice leads us to believe that we are in the early stages of a cold. However, the cracking of your voice may also be a symptom of acid reflux. A husky voice occurs when the stomach acid travels back into the esophagus and causes an irritation in your vocal cords. Pay attention to times when your voice sounds huskier than usual, especially if it happens right after you eat as this may be an indication of acid reflux.
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