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Who issusceptible to acid reflux?

Acidreflux is usually associated with the adults. Particularly with adultswith bad dietary habits such as eating too much, eating late, eatingtoo hot, too spicy and too oily food, as well as with people who areoverweight. But within the last few years, gastric reflux (anothername for acid reflux) is becoming widespread in teenager populationas well. Cause of this can be in eating all the wrong foods, but gastric reflux might affect even teenagers that are otherwise healthyand have proper eating habits.

Mechanismof acid reflux

Food thatwe have eaten firstly comes to the stomach. Walls of the stomachsecrete powerful acid, known as stomach acid. Its chemical name ishydrochloric acid, and its chemical symbol is HCl. Its purpose is tosoften and dissolve food particles and make the food much moresusceptible to enzymes that will crack it down to molecules while itpasses through the intestines, and turn it into form that can beabsorbed into the body. Obviously, stomach content is full of acid.This is fine with the stomach, as its walls are acid-proof, andexcess acid will be neutralized when the food moves in theintestines.

Undernormal circumstances, the food goes one way, and should not returntravel back up save when we are vomiting. Stomach is connected to themouth via a tube known as esophagus. It is sealed by sphinctermuscles (these work as valves) that are located on top and on thebottom of it. The lower esophageal sphincter makes sure that the foodstays in the stomach. In some cases, the contents of the stomachmanage to flow past the lower esophageal sphincter (when it is notclosed completely, or open at a wrong time) and into the esophagus.Acid in the refluxed content burns the walls of the esophagus (theseare not even acid resistant) and causes pain and discomfort.

So whatabout teenagers?

Acidreflux in teenagers need not be associated with gastroesophagealreflux disease, anyone can experience it, particularly afterindulging in the wrong type of dietary habits. But leaving thisuntreated can lead to GERD and later to other complications, evenserious conditions such as cancer.

How totell, what to do?

Symptomssuch as bad breath, dry cough and sore throat, sour or acid taste inthe mouth, frequent “wet” burps, difficult swallowing or feelingthat food gets stuck in the throat might be indicative of gastricreflux if they appear frequently. Proper diagnosis is possible onlyafter a medical exam which will include tests for gastric reflux.Treatment is similar as in persons that do have GERD – by changesin lifestyle and eating habits, avoidance of problematic kinds offood, and eventually soothing of symptoms with prescription freemedicines. Your family physician will provide you with specificadvice.

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