Clifford

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Clifford Black Jr.
Dr.
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Anniston
Bariatric & Reflux Surgery
Anniston General Surgery Center
1901 Leighton Ave
Anniston
AL
36207

I have heartburn often. Should I be worried?

Yes. If you have heartburn more than two or three times a week, you have a disease called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).  One out of ten patients with this disease, will develop a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus.  Barrett's results when the lining of the esophagus changes to handle stomach acid that gushes up from the stomach.  Since 1975, newly diagnosed esophageal cancers that occur in Barrett's have increased by 650%!  This cancer is very lethal with survival rates less than 10% at 5 years.  That is why it is very important to have your reflux evaluated and treated.

What causes reflux?

 Patients who suffer with reflux have a valve in the lower esophagus that doesn't work right.  It is relaxed and allows stomach content to reflux or surge up into the esophagus, causing damage over time. What should be a one way street now becomes a two way street.  Some patients also may have a hiatal hernia.  This occurs when part of the stomach moves up into the chest.   This explains why many patients have severe night time symptoms.  When lying down, gravity allows the stomach content to slosh up into the esophagus and throat.

 

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