Are you ready for GERD Awareness Week? November 23 – 29, 2014 is dedicated to raising awareness nationwide about gastroesophageal reflux disease, a chronic digestive disorder that causes stomach contents to back up into the esophagus, often resulting in heartburn, indigestion and/or acid reflux.
While occasional heartburn and reflux are not uncommon, GERD refers to the more serious, long-lasting disorder (more than twice a week for two weeks), which affects about 20 percent of Americans. And although anyone can develop GERD, the National Institutes of Health tell us certain groups are more likely to develop the disorder: people who smoke, are overweight or obese, pregnant or taking certain medications.
Occasional Heartburn & Reflux? Simple Tips to Follow
Many people don’t realize that occasional heartburn and reflux may be controlled through a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, which in turn may help prevent the development of GERD. Here are some simple, everyday tips to follow:
- Avoid greasy, fried foods and spicy foods
- Avoid processed foods high in refined sugars
- Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus
- Avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages
- Avoid chocolate and caffeine
- Consume more dietary fiber
- Do not overeat or eat too quickly; chew your food well
- Try to stop eating 2 to 3 hours before sleep
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Quit smoking
To find out more about how you can get involved in your community, visit the GERD Awareness Week page on the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website for helpful tips, resources and ideas.