Research team of Kanasi University published those results in several medical journals (Gastroenterology Week, Obesity, Nature) which state that overweight is an important risk factor leading to symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). What they were examining among reflux patients is to what extend may losing weight reduce symptoms of GERD.
They had 97% of 332 adults (66% females, 46 years old, average age) lose weight in 6 months by being provided a new diet, a physical and behavioral program by which they lost 13 kg on average. They experienced complete disappearance of reflux symptoms with 65% of the patients and partial disappearance among 15% of them. They found that the more weight one was able to lose the more efficient the patient was in curing reflux. This has been a crucial research in treating this disease, as it implies that most reflux patients can be cured simply by losing weight.
Reflux is endemic
But what exactly is reflux disease? A growing percentage (20-50%) of human population is affected by symptoms which are characteristics of reflux disease. Reflux is a complex disorder of the gastric and esophagus during which content of the gastric flows backwards into the esophagus causing problems there such as inflammation, erosion on the mucous membrane, pain behind the breastbone. It may be caused by weakening or enlargement of the esophageal sphincter, or abdominal pressure, excessive growth of pressure from the stomach. The obturator muscle strengthens the sphincter from the outside, but if one develops hiatal hernia, that may further weaken the sphincter.
Burning feeling in the stomach may often stretch from behind the breastbone all the way to the pharynx, but may also cause pain in the shoulders, shoulder blades and arms. Acidic eructation is an extremely stinging symptom which may cause coughing, huskiness, difficulty to swallow, or even vomiting. Late complications of reflux disease are serious: scars, lumps may develop after damage of the inner surfaces.
This disease may be diagnosed by numerous methods, anywhere from endoscopy, searcher onto pharmacological testing. Traditional treatments include pharmacological and surgical therapies. They try to decrease the production of acid in the stomach, thus acidic eructation and pain is somewhat decreased also, this however does not solve the problem of a weak sphincter or greater intra-abdominal pressure.
Therapy and prevention
According to complementary medicine reflux is a civilization disease, it may not however be called a disease on its own. It is rather a group of symptoms which pile up due to a lifestyle faulty in several ways. Disorder of the intestinal flora for example, or presence of putrefactive bacteria. Also, incorrect eating habits (too much food, or one that stays too long in the stomach, that was taken too late in the day, unsystematic, too fatty, contains too much meat, or sweet), intense abdominal pressure caused by abdominal and intestinal dilatation, overweightness, lack of physical exercise, improper breathing habits, addictions (smoking, alcohol, sweets, sleeping pills, tranquilizers) all lead to the torpidity of the obturator muscles and sphincters.
Therefore, we do not treat reflux with medicines, instead we correct body weight, reform the diet, use detoxing therapies, physical exercise programs, yoga, breathing exercises, intestinal flora correction and herbs. This way we can achieve permanent results, while medicines only mean symptomatic treatment, more and more consequential discomfort and complications.
More information for professional: Weight Loss Can Lead to Resolution of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms: A Prospective Intervention Trial. Obesity, 2013;21(2):284-290. Obesity can be contacted at: Wiley-Blackwell, 111 River St, Hoboken 07030-5774, NJ, USA. (Nature Publishing Group – www.nature.com/; Obesity – www.nature.com/oby/)
The news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained from M. Singh, University of Kansas, Medical Center, Center Phys Activ & Weight Management, Dept. of Energy Balance, Lawrence, KS 66045, United States. Additional authors for this research include J. Lee, N. Gupta, S. Gaddam, B.K. Smith, S.B. Wani, D.K. Sullivan, A. Rastogi, A. Bansal, J.E. Donnelly and P. Sharma (see also Weight Loss).