Acid Reflux (GERD)

Chewing tobacco

Ignited by firewater

Flames rise to your throat

 

Gastro(stomach) Esophageal(gullet) Reflux(back washing up the gullet) Disease is usually a chronic condition. GERD refers to the periodic escape of stomach contents back up into the esophagus.

It’s caused by a leak in a sort of valve at the stomach inlet. The esophagus does not like the stomach acid. The main symptom is heartburn. This is a hot discomfort going from the stomach up to the throat. Sometimes the acid can be tasted.

Over time, changes in the lining cells of the esophagus called Barrett’s epithelium can occur. This can lead to cancer. Other problems include choking on acid at night.

Treatment includes medication, eating smaller meals and not close to bedtime, optimizing weight, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco, and choosing healthy foods. In other words, if it tastes good, spit it out except if you like the taste of kale or Brussels sprouts.

Allergic rhinitis

Seasonal nosefuls

 Explosions send it flying

Nothing to sneeze at

 

This hallmark of Spring is somewhat of a misnomer though it is a legitimate medical diagnosis. There is no fever and it has numerous triggers besides hay. The word rhinitis derives from rhino which means nose. It’s also a year round problem for many and can occur at any age from innumerable gremlins (antigens).

This is an immune system problem of hypersensitivity; but not like autoimmune conditions such as lupus, since it involves different immune cells and chemical pathways. It’s an overreaction to foreign proteins such as pollens, dust mites, and pet danders. Surprisingly, excessive sterilizing of a child’s environment with soaps and sanitizer increases their risk of getting allergies and eczema.

Allergic rhinitis can lead to asthma and anaphylaxis. So it’s worth trying to blunt the reaction. Medications help and allergic testing and allergy shots are sometimes advised. It’s also important to limit exposure to known antigens. For example, wearing a mask at times of high exposures (if you can’t convince someone else to mow the lawn).