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Complications Associated with Acid Reflux Disease

Unfortunately, acid reflux disease can eventually become a much more serious, potentially life threatening problem if it is allowed to continue untreated.

The long term effects of acid reflux disease can potentially be quite serious. The esophagus can become scarred because highly acidic stomach fluids flush into it and burn its walls. As food continues to be digested it causes further damage to the esophageal walls and contractions by the muscles of the esophagus begin to weaken and slow down.

Even if babies and young children do not vomit despite their suffering from acid reflux disease, the acidic contents of their stomach might still be entering their windpipe, subsequently damaging the lungs. This could potentially lead to pneumonia, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If a child does vomit as a result of their acid reflux their growth could be stunted.

Erosive Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus that occurs when the cells that line the esophagus are damaged by highly acidic stomach fluids.

Esophageal bleeding, which is sometimes quite severe, can be brought on by inflammation caused by ulcers. If the bleeding becomes too heavy patients may require surgical or endoscopic treatments and blood transfusions to deal with a possible anemic reaction.

All this scar tissue and ulceration of the wall of the food pipe, effectively narrows it, causing a natural barrier to easy passage of food. This makes swallowing difficult. Airways narrowing can cause shortness of breath and wheezing.

Finally, a long standing scarred and ulcerated Esophagus, constantly awash with gastric acid reflux, often causes a change for the worse, in the nature of the cells lining the Esophageal wall. These cells then become pre-cancerous, and finally cancerous. This condition is referred to as Barrett's esophagus, which occurs in approximately 10% of patients with Acid Reflux. Today, we find an increase in the frequency of those diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus.

Finally, there are a bunch of nerves in the lower part of the Esophagus, which get disturbed by the Acid Reflux flushing back. This sometimes result in a pain we call heartburn; other times, these nerves transmit the disturbance to some other nerves, that cause constriction of the lung airways, and cough, causing the patient to get breathless.
About The Author Searching for a cure for acid reflux but don't know what works and what doesn't? Check out the Reflux Renegade website for lots of helpful information about the causes, symptoms and treatments for acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
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