What is heartburn?
Can it get worse over time?
Twenty percent of American adults experience routine heartburn, sometimes as often as twice a week, and those who suffer from heartburn report a burning sensation from the stomach through the chest and throat. Heartburn is often diagnosed as GERD, or acid reflux disease, and is the result of acid continually escaping from the stomach into the esophagus.
Chronic acid reflux, or GERD, puts people at risk for Barrett’s Esophagus (BE) – a change in the lining of the esophagus that, left untreated, can lead to cancer. If you have chronic GERD or BE it is important to understand how Barrett’s develops and progresses, as well as the importance of a timely and accurate diagnosis so that prompt and tailored treatment can occur.
How do I know if I have more than heartburn?
While patients with heartburn are at an increased risk for developing Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), it is important to note that not all cases will develop into cancer; patients with heartburn, though, are at a higher risk of developing chronic GERD, and are recommended interval surveillance to evaluate any changes in their esophageal tissue to indicate if they have developed, or are at higher risk of developing, BE. In order to prevent the progression from chronic GERD to BE and cancer, you need a confident and accurate diagnosis that doesn’t leave room for error.