Bengaluru: Irregular food timings and heavy intake of fatty food is taking a toll on city’s youngsters. There has been an increase in the cases of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), among the younger age group.
Work related stress, consumption of fast food, effervescent drinks, lack of exercise, sedentary life styles and night shifts are some of the factors that trigger acid reflux, said Dr Shobha Naidu, Consultant Physician, Sagar Hospital.
A study conducted by Indian Society of Gastroenterology across six cities in the country revealed that the prevalence of GERD was more than 70%.
Dr Govind Nandakumar, Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur said, “GERD is caused due to the backing up of stomach acid into the oesophagus. There’s a muscle between the food pipe and the stomach, when that muscle is weak the acid flows backward, it gives the sensation of a reflux.”
Doctors highlighted that lifestyle modifications would help manage the GERD symptoms to a large extent. Dr Adarsh C.K., Senior Consultant, Medical Gastroenterologist and Advanced Endoscopist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals said, “We see nearly 50 cases of GERD in a week and have noticed a 5-7% increase in GERD patients from last year.”
He also said that by avoiding foods and drinks that trigger reflux and eating smaller meals, one may avoid triggering GERD symptoms. “Some medicines like painkillers can worsen reflux and GERD. If not treated, the reflux of stomach acid will damage the tissue lining the oesophagus, causing inflammation and pain. In adults, long-lasting, untreated GERD can lead to permanent damage of the oesophagus and even cancer,” Dr Adarsh added.
Health experts also pointed that apart from reasons mentioned above, smoking and drinking can also cause GERD. All of them reiterated the responsibility one has towards himself/herself by ensuring healthy eating habits and an active routine.
Dr Govind also suggested that anybody with GERD should have an endoscopic scan to ensure that there is no other cause for it. “The measures to avoid GERD can be weight loss, healthy lifestyle, avoiding fatty foods, including green leafy vegetables in the diet and avoiding fruits that lead to reflux,” he added.
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