YOUR HEARTBURN MAY NOT BE HARMLESS

DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS.

Acid reflux. Chest pain. Chronic cough or sore throat. They may seem like harmless symptoms, but they could be a sign of a disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Early detection and treatment of GERD is essential, as the disease can lead to serious health problems, including Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous disease of the esophagus.

If you, or someone you love, have experienced these symptoms, take charge of your health and take the next step towards treatment.

Barrett's Disease
Barrett's Disease

WHAT IS BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS?

Barrett’s esophagus is a disease affecting the lining of the esophagus, the swallowing tube that carries foods and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. It is caused by injury to the esophagus from the chronic backwash of stomach contents, like acid and enzymes, that occurs with abnormal reflux.

People with Barrett’s esophagus may not have any symptoms. However, chronic heartburn, difficulty swallowing, nausea, chest pain and other symptoms of GERD may indicate a need for further testing. It is estimated that 13% of the people who have chronic acid reflux — those in high risk groups including chronic GERD, Caucasian, male, over age 50 — also have Barrett’s esophagus.

In addition to suffering from chronic heartburn, other factors that may put a person at risk for Barrett’s esophagus include:

  • Obesity
  • Caucasian ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Male gender

Once a person has Barrett’s esophagus, it may continually progress to more serious stages, potentially resulting in esophageal adenocarcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer. There are three stages of Barrett’s esophagus and range from the least serious (intestinal metaplasia without dysplasia) to the most serious (high-grade dysplasia). Dysplasia refers to the abnormalities of tissue or a cell that make it more cancer-like and disorganized. The presence of dysplasia is not considered cancer, but may increase the risk of developing cancer.

Dr. Vivek Trivedi, our board certified gastroenterologist is certified in Barrett’s Esophagus Endotherapy and is an authority in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.