Senior female with GERD seen by Gastroenterologist Neema M. Saraiya

Five lifestyle changes that can help GERD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders—affecting nearly 30% of the U.S. population. On this recent news segment on CBS Austin, Dr. Neema M. SaraiyaGastroenterologist at ARC Northwest Hill Specialty discussed GERD and the effects that lifestyle changes can have on it.

“Most of us are familiar with heartburn,” says Dr. Saraiya.“We begin to call it a disease when it causes actual symptoms for people that are troublesome or when it causes damage to the lining of the esophagus.” Dr. Saraiya says that doctors typically first suggest lifestyle changes to relieve GERD symptoms, before prescription medications are necessary.

Last month a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine showed just how effective those lifestyle changes can be. Researchers looked at about 40,000 women who reported heartburn on a weekly basis.

They found five behaviors that reduced symptoms by 50%:

  • Not smoking
  • Drinking less than two cups a day of coffee, tea or soda
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Getting 30 minutes of exercise a day
  • Maintaining a body mass index below 25

The study also found that adhering to all five behaviors could prevent nearly 40% of GERD cases. Dr. Saraiya says that this study now gives doctors concrete numbers in how well their recommendations work.

To make an appointment with Dr. Saraiya, call ARC Northwest Hill Specialty at 512-344-0450.

Tags: GERD, Gastroesophageal reflux disease

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