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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); Questions to Ask.

Review the following 'Questions to Ask' about your symptoms so you're prepared to discuss this condition with your health care provider.

Are there any medications I am taking that might make my symptoms worse?

Do I need any diagnostic tests, such as an upper GI barium swallow, endoscopy or esophageal motility testing?

Do you specialize in treating conditions of the gastrointestinal tract?

Could my symptoms possibly be warning signs of a heart attack or angina? How do I tell the difference?

Could my symptoms be related to another condition?

Are there any foods I should avoid?

Are there any activities I should avoid?

What are signs that might indicate that I should be reevaluated?

How can you tell if I have signs of something more serious, such as Barrett's esophagus or cancer of the esophagus?

If the decision is to put you on medication:

Which is the best medication for my symptoms?

When do I take the medication?

What are the side effects of this medication?

If I'm pregnant, what medications are safe to take for my symptoms?

How long will I have to be on medication?

Many of the medications for GERD are newer and can be costly. If cost is a factor, discuss this with your health care provider for alternatives or possible discounts available from pharmacies and drug companies.

References

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Spechler, S.J., and et al. "Long-term Outcome of Medical and Surgical Therapies for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Follow-up of a Randomized Controlled Trial." JAMA, May 9, 2001, Vol. 285. http://jama.ama-assn.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

Spechler, S.J. "Epidemiology and natural history of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease." Digestion, 1992, Vol. 51 Suppl 1, p. 24-29.

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"About GERD." About GERD, http://www.aboutgerd.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

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Thompson, W.G. "What Else can we Attribute to GERD?" About GERD, http://www.aboutgerd.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

Waring, J.P. "Questions and Answers about Medications and GERD." About GERD, http://www.aboutgerd.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

"Smoking and Your Digestive System." About GERD, http://www.aboutgerd.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

"Heartburn, Hiatal Hernia and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, http://www.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed July 22, 2002.

"Barrett's Esophagus." The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, http://www.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed July 22, 2002.

"Heartburn." The American Gastroenterological Association, http://www.gastro.org. Accessed July 22, 2002.

Falk, J.L. and O'Brien, J.F. "Chest Pain," chapter 24, Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, American College of Emergency Physicians, McGrall-Hill, New York, 4th Edition, 1996. P.193.

Silverthorn, D.U. "Digestion." Chapter 20, Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2nd Ed. 2001. P. 602-633.

Gilbert DA, et al: (supplement). "National ASGE Survey on upper gastrointestinal bleeding - complications of endoscopy." Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 1981; Vol. 26 (7), p. 55-59

"GERD & Pregnancy." The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Home. http://www.cchs.net. Accessed Aug. 26, 2002.

Field SK, and et al. "Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in asthma." Chest 1996; Vol. 109, p. 316-322.

Field SK and Sutherland LR. "Does medical antireflux therapy improve asthma in asthmatics with gastroesophageal reflux? A critical review of the literature." Chest 1998, Vol. 114, p. 275-283.

"H. pylori and peptic ulcers." The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed Aug. 26, 2002.

Richter JE. "Extraesophageal presentations of gastroesophageal reflux disease." Seminars in Gastrointestinal Disease, April 1997, Vol.8(2), p. 75-89.

DeVault KR, et al. "Updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease." The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 1999, Vol. 94(6), p. 1434-1442.

"Heartburn, Hiatal Hernia, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH). June 2003. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed August 2006.

"Gerd Treatment Center." Albert Einstein Health Network, 2006. http://www.einstein.edu. Accessed August 2006.

"The 48-Hour Bravo Esophageal pH Test." The Cleveland Clinic. February 2005. http://www.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed August 2006.

"GERD and Asthma." The Cleveland Clinic. January 2003. http://www.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed August 2006.

"Heartburn Common in Western Countries." The Lancet, via Merck Source Health News. June 2006. http://www.mercksource.com. Acceseed August 2006.

"Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Heartburn." Massachusetts General Hospital. http://www.mgh.harvard.edu. Accessed August 2006.

Keywords: gastroesophageal reflux disease, gerd, symptoms, medication
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