Heartburn could be a precursor to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, British doctors warn and note that// the diagnosis of the disease is a relatively new phenomenon.
Statistics show that over a quarter of Britons have gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, also known as the GORD, and thousands of these are not getting the treatment they need.
A noted general practitioner, Dr Rob Hicks, said that the GORD as a diagnosis was a relatively new phenomenon and that although most medical practitioners were aware of it, many patients could still be suffering in ignorance.
"What we are trying to do is to raise awareness, because there are many people still suffering from heartburn two or three times a week. I would advise them to see their doctor," Hicks said.
He also noted that although heartburn might in the past have been dismissed by some as trivial, it was now recognised as a serious affliction, which could, in a few cases, lead to ulcers and even pre-cancerous cells.
"National guidelines point to PPI's as the first line of treatment for the GORD because they treat the condition and help the healing process," Hicks added.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of prescription medications that prevent the release of acid in the stomach and intestines.
Doctors prescribe the PPIs to treat people with heartburn (acid reflux), ulcers of the stomach or intestine, or excess stomach acid (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome).
Gastro-oesophageal reflux is a condition where the lower oesophageal sphincter (the muscular ring at the lower end of the oesophagus) is abnormally relaxed and allows the stomach's acidic contents to flow back or 'reflux' into the gullet (oesophagus). It can also cause heartburn.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux is a common condition and the most frequent cause of indigestion in the UK.
What are the symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux oesophagitis?
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