Have you been suffering from acid reflux? Acid reflux can happen anytime of the day or night, making it miserable for the person to make it through the day without frequent episodes of belch-ridden indigestion, a burning sensation in the throat, and radiating chest pain that is sometimes thought to be a heart attack. Acid reflux is also known as GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease). Acid reflux happens when contents of the stomach back up into the oesophagus, a tube like structure that connects the throat to the stomach.

Chronic GERD can be dangerous because it can erode the walls of the oesophagus leading to painful symptoms. Apart from heartburns, other symptoms may include difficulty in swallowing, dry cough, a hoarse voice, frequent regurgitation and feeling as if there’s a lump in the throat. But according to gastroenterology specialist Dr. Lawrence Cohen, GERD is often caused by poor lifestyle and diet.

Dr. Cohen stated that, “The majority, I dare say, is directed by our habits, by our weight, our eating patterns, the content of our diet, and certain vices like smoking. Those are the things that contribute to excessive reflux.” According to Dr. Cohen the major cause of GERD is obesity. He stated that being overweight especially around the waistline can contribute to the development of acid reflux because stomach acid and content travel faster into the oesophagus due to increased intra-abdominal pressure.

“We can reverse and modify frequency of reflux by looking at those factors of diet and lifestyle,” said Dr. Cohen. “And we can change it from chronic to intermittent to resolved.”Most people eat large, high-fat meals and rarely carry out any energetic activities apart from lying down on a flat surface. This act can create havoc on the oesophageal sphincter which soon becomes a subject of chronic acid reflux.