History of acid reflux
GERD or gastro-esophageal reflux disease may seem like a simple condition but it can be horrible for the person who has to bear it. A sedentary lifestyle, obesity, spicy oily food and a range of different reasons can cause the disease. As the causes of the condition are so numerous, diagnosing it and treating the condition permanently can be extremely difficult. Patients have burning sensations in the chest and throat accompanied with regurgitation of food from the stomach and difficult in swallowing. Sometimes it can also cause serious side effects like pain while swallowing, chest pain and nausea. Every year, more than 10-20% of the western population is diagnosed with GERD and treatment seems to be like a distant dream. Increasing awareness of the disease had led to an accurate count of patients who suffer from the condition but could it be that the condition was affecting patients for several centuries in different countries all over the world? Let’s find out.
Acid reflux history
In 3000 BC, the ancient Sumerians were the first to note that a heavy mixed diet caused a burning sensation behind the chest. Considering that the ancients literally ate whatever was available whether alive or dead; heartburn was a foregone conclusion. The condition might have existed in different forms over the ages but in the first century, it affected Pliny the Elder. Pliny, who was a Roman naturalist, actively researched the condition and even produced a treatment for it in the form of “coral powder.” The natural alkalinity of coral (which contains calcium carbonate) acting like an antacid could have been the reason that the powder became popular as a treatment for the acid burning. The next break for sufferers came in the second century, when Greek doctor Galen was able to medically define, diagnose and record the condition. He named it cardalgia or heart pain. However, coral powder remained the main cure for the problem till 20th century scientists finally recognized the acid-alkaline reaction that was the basis of the condition. Tagamet released in 1976 became the first drug which was used to control the condition and it quickly bought relief to many. However, over the ages, thousands of famous personalities have suffered through the condition. The most recognizable names include Ashlee Simpson, Celine Dion’s son, John Elway, Rosie O’Donell’s son, Joss Stone, Seth Etherton’s baby, Sam Donaldson, Marcus Giles, Jim Palmer, Joss Stone, President Bill Clinton, Bo Jackson and President George Bush,
Acid reflux history shows that the condition affects the rich and the poor equally. There is still no definitive cure for the condition and patients have to use a range of medications that will reduce the acid production of the stomach or opt for surgical procedures to prevent the acid from the stomach coming back into the mouth. However, most doctors state that simple conditions of acid reflux should be treated with antacids and lifestyle changes. Recently, the use of alternative therapies like yoga, meditation and acupuncture has also become popular in the treatment and control of acid reflux.