As one of many costly health disorders in the U.S., gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn, are costing Americans billions of dollars every year! It’s time to put the fire out!
Unable to find any current fiscal impact studies, I relate the last — a 2009 study. In it, it is estimated that at that time we were spending about $142 billion per year in the treatment of digestive disorders, accounting for $15 to $20 billion. That was an increase of 42 percent over the previous 10 years. Now we are 10 years past that study and GERD and related disorders are climbing even higher. The amount of money spent per year on this disorder is staggering!
It doesn’t have to be. There are many things that set the stage for heartburn or reflux to occur that is completely within our control to fix. I understand that when your gut fires are raging you don’t care what you spend, you just need to put the fire out! To do that we need to be looking at several things; we have to be our own “arson” investigator.
As all firemen know, you don’t just show up at a fire and start dousing it with water. There are protocols to follow to ensure the safety of the personnel, the safety of potential victims and personal property, containing it in an organized way and then conducting an investigation to find out what caused it.
Similarly but in a different order, we have to find out what went wrong that caused the digestive distress in the first place, contain it (get the symptoms under control) and then, while always supporting patient health and safety, applying methods that reduce or reverse the damage done and correct the reason for the fire.
Other than the investigative work that happens first, all the others happen at the same time in a treatment program aimed at correcting the underlying mechanism that set the stage for this flaming hot disease to happen in the first place.
What happens if you don’t put the fire out? More damage happens. In reflux, esophageal inflammation or erosion can lead to Barrett’s esophagus and can progress into esophageal cancer. You can get a stricture or esophageal spasm, making swallowing nearly impossible and necessitating your esophagus getting stretched. You can get a chronic cough causing throat and lung issues.
But the fires burn even deeper than what is commonly written as above. When you are taking proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), drugs that stop your stomach’s acid enzyme’s (which, by the way, are supposed to be there and are supposed to be acidic), you can’t digest well. That means you can’t repair and rebuild tissues at the rate you are supposed to. You are at risk for kidney and heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, bone fractures and other diseases, including dementia.
With the use of good investigative work, acupuncture and nutritional changes, much can be done to get the fires put out! Learn more by attending our upcoming health class, Beyond Tums: Drug-Free Solutions for Heartburn, Reflux, Indigestion & Upset Stomach, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994 or register here: http://bit.ly/DigestionClass.
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.