Gastroesophageal reflux disease is common in the U.S., with approximately 20% of people suffering symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, stomach pain, trouble swallowing and nausea. At Advanced Research Institute, we’re running GERD clinical trials in Reno, Nevada; and Ogden and Sandy, Utah; to test the efficacy of new drugs to treat this disease.
What Is GERD?
Your esophagus is the tube inside your body that carries food from your throat to your stomach. At the end of the tube is a valve that is supposed to open to let food into the stomach, then close to prevent the food from washing back up into the esophagus. In those diagnosed with GERD, this valve does not work correctly.
The contents of your stomach are highly acidic, which is necessary to digest food properly, but this acid causes an uncomfortable burning sensation when it washes back into the esophagus — hence the term “heartburn.” Most everyone has had this sensation at one time or another, due to overeating, doing exercise directly after eating or another reason. But when the symptoms are frequent and chronic, GERD is often diagnosed.
While most symptoms are related to the acid and its accompanying discomfort, some GERD sufferers experience chest pain, trouble swallowing, the sensation that something is stuck in their throat, a cough and persistent bad breath.