GERD: A Burning Issue

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When is heartburn not just heartburn? How often should you use over-the-counter remedies before seeking medical attention? What are the warning signs of potentially serious conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus? Heartburn, the classic symptom for reflux disease, is very common and thus, a “burning issue” for many. Many of us take medications to control this chronic condition. We have all had some experience with reflux when we over indulge with foods that are spicy and acidic. It can be benign or cause damage to the lining of the esophagus and even predispose patients to esophageal cancer. On this episode of Patient Power sponsored by Vanderbilt Medical Center, Dr. Michael Vaezi, a specialist in the field of gastroenterology, and Peggy Rose, his patient, who suffered with symptoms for many years, talk about treatment answers at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Peggy Rose spent years and years searching for the reasons behind the tickle in her throat, persistent cough, and even pain in her ears. After many procedures and treatments Peggy found dead end after dead end. It seemed no doctor or specialist had the answer, and she was even told by one doctor, “We don’t know everything.” Hear how she persisted and found Dr. Vaezi who solved the mystery and now has a treatment plan to put her back on the road to good health.

Dr. Michael Vaezi is Director of the Center for Swallowing and Esophageal Disorders, Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Gastroenterology, and a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center. He sheds light on the newest diagnostic tests and treatments for reflux disease, explains the importance of getting a definitive diagnosis, when it’s time to seek out a specialist, and research into new and refined treatment options. Learn from both Dr. Vaezi and Peggy as they share both the clinical and personal challenges faced in diagnosis and treatment of this disease. When is heartburn not just heartburn? Find out in this episode of Patient Power.

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Produced in association with Vanderbilt Medical Center

Transcript

Andrew Schorr:

It’s said that 30-50 percent of our American population experiences at some time in their life the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It could be heartburn, but it could have other symptoms you might not think of like cough, and sometimes people are misdiagnosed. We want to help you get the best care. We’ll connect you with a leading expert in this and an inspiring patient next on Patient Power.

Hello and welcome to Patient Power. I’m Andrew Schorr, and this program like so many others is sponsored by Vanderbilt Medical Center where we connect you with leading experts on significant health problems.

One significant health problem that affects so many of us some time in our life is the feelings of usually heartburn and that kind of burning in your chest and you say, “Did I eat the wrong thing, can I take some kind of over-the-counter medicine?” or sometimes other symptoms you wouldn’t even connect with it like for instance a chronic cough. Now is that connected to what you ate or maybe you being overweight and some acid or even non-acidic material coming back up, if you will.

How do you get an accurate diagnosis for that? Sometimes it’s not so easy but Vanderbilt Medical Center has a whole center that specializes in that, GERD and gastroesophageal disorders, and we’re going to learn all about that in just a minute, but first I’d like to introduce you to someone who is getting help there at that center, and it’s been quite a journey, and that is Peggy Rose.

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