There are symptoms we know and associate with acid reflux aka GERD and there are symptoms we don’t typically connect to acid reflux. GERD and reflux aren’t always that burning sensation coming up into the esophagus. Sometimes the symptoms are stealthier and even silent. The atypical symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) are pervasive and sinister. It’s important to understand and correctly diagnose this condition in order to properly and effectively treat. The ENT Institute prides itself as specialists on LPR and provides a comprehensive diagnostic analysis as well as a treatment plan. The unexpected symptoms of GERD are pervasive, but not untreatable. In fact, the ENT Institute has same-day GERD treatment in Atlanta.
First, we have to identify the problems that acid reflux presents. Second, we’ll get into the unexpected symptoms and the reasons it is so important to have it diagnosed and treated.
GERD Cases Rising
One of the more alarming facts about GERD is that in the last decade, the number of cases has risen by 30%. Even worse, severe cases by 24%. But why is that? What’s causing a change in GERD cases and severity?
In an interview by ENT Institute with Nick Tsaclas, aka the “GERDfather”, he states that the rise in consumption of processed foods is a significant contributor. The acidification of these processed foods could be the culprit. Elements used to preserve foods in cans could be having adverse effects on our overall health in more ways than we actually know (we’ll get to that). What’s even more sinister is that some bottled waters are actually acidic, even those labeled alkaline!
“The pH level is a number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic and something with a pH of 13 would be very alkaline.” (Goldman, 2019).
Crazy, right? Never thought water would cause that kind of damage. And it’s not consistent. Some brands test alkaline, while others test acidic. That’s why you see alkaline branded water, which supposedly reduces our body’s acid levels (there are counterclaims to the health benefits of alkaline water).
So, there you have it. That’s why GERD cases have gone up.
Unexpected Symptoms of GERD
According to the ‘GERDfather’, “As far as symptoms go, it mimics the common cold and/or allergies.” What does that mean? First, we can directly relate symptoms involving the sinuses to GERD.
Think about it: the connection between the esophagus and the throat eventually leads to the sinus passages. Why do you think there are ear, nose, and throat practices? Because everything’s connected!
So, here are a few symptoms you may not have known related to GERD:
- Post-nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Globus pharyngis, aka the lump in the throat sensation
- Clearing throat
Gonna have to refer back to the GERDfather on that one. He says that our bodies are designed in such a way that post-nasal drip can change its pH levels depending on the body’s need. For instance, if acid is coming up into the esophagus, the sinuses can produce more alkaline mucus that’s made to put those fires out.
Okay, so we’ve thrown all of this at you, but what’s the point? Why does it matter? Isn’t acid reflux and GERD just painful, yet harmless in the long run?
Nope. It’s not.
The Risks of GERD
Why does any of this matter? Because long term acid reflux can contribute to esophageal, laryngeal (throat) and perhaps even oral cancers. In the last couple of years, esophageal cancer has made the news when it took the life of Eddie Money. More recently, Eddie Van Halen died of throat cancer.
Here are a few stats about esophageal cancer from the American Cancer Society:
- 18,440 new diagnosed cases (estimated in 2020)
- 16,170 deaths (estimated in 2020)
- Fortunately, survivability has gone up from 5% in the 1970s to 20%
Finally, a note from the GERDfather in a video with Dr. Weinman, one of our physicians:
Same-day GERD treatment in Atlanta
The great news is that diagnosis and treatment are fast and effective. All you have to do is schedule an appointment. Same-day GERD treatment is possible, and conveniently right here in Atlanta.
To schedule an appointment call 770-740-1860 or click the button below.
- GI Society (2012) GERD on the Rise [Medical Website] Retrieved on November 12th, 2020 from https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/gerd-on-the-rise/#:~:text=In%20just%20one%20decade%2C%20the,from%205.4%25%20to%206.7%25).
- Goldman, R. (2019, May 30) Alkaline Water: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dangers [Health Article] Retrieved on November 12th, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/alkaline-water-benefits-risks
- American Cancer Society (2020, March 20) Statistics for Esophageal Cancer [Medical Website] Retrieved on November 12th, 2020 from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/esophagus-cancer/about/key-statistics.html