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GERD Awareness Week

Gerd Awareness Week is observed each year during the week of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving week was chosen because people eat large quantities of food during this period.

It was designated a day of observance in 1999 by The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). It's purpose is to raise awareness and to educate people about the seriousness of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

GERD develops when acid and/or other contents from the stomach flows backwards into the esophagus.

One of the most common symptoms of Gerd is heartburn, but more serious complications may occur if it is not treated properly such as severe chest pain, bleeding, and a narrowing or clogging of the esophagus tube. It can also cause irritation of the respiratory tract and difficulty in swallowing.

Below is a list of tips presented by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)that can reduce GERD symptoms:

  1. Schedule an earlier meal: It’s best not to eat late at night if you suffer from GERD.
  2. Serve light appetizers: Fatty foods like chips, dips, and cheeses are slow to empty from the stomach and more likely to aggravate symptoms. 
  3. Stay active: Stick with your exercise routine during the holidays, as weight loss can help alleviate GERD symptoms.
  4. Don’t smoke: Nicotine weakens the muscles within your food pipe that prevent back flow (reflux) of stomach contents.
  5. Nix the juice: Citrus fruits and juices, like grapefruit, orange and tomato, are acidic and can worsen GERD symptoms.
  6. Season lightly: Spicy foods, as well as things like onions and garlic, often bother people with GERD and make heartburn worse.
  7. Limit your drinks: Whether wine at dinner or beer during the game, alcohol can worsen reflux.
  8. Pass on deep frying your turkey: Fried foods are known to exacerbate GERD symptoms.
  9. Use smaller plates: Eating large meals can trigger symptoms, so try smaller meals spread throughout the day.
  10. Substitute water for soda: Caffeinated and carbonated beverages are both notorious heartburn aggravators.
  11. Watch the desserts: Chocolate might be a favorite, but it often bothers people with GERD.
  12. Skip the after-dinner mint: Peppermint is another heartburn irritant.
  13. Slow down: Physical exertion after a meal can lead to reflux.
  14. Stay awake: While the turkey might make you sleepy, fight the urge take a nap. Lying down within 3 hours after eating can cause GERD symptoms to flare up.
  15. Talk to your doctor: An accurate diagnosis is the first step to receiving the most effective treatment.

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is a nonprofit education and research organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people impacted by chronic digestive conditions. For more information about the condition, visit IFFGD’s dedicated website, www.aboutgerd.org.

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