THE GROWING PROBLEM OF GERD
Your Hearing is Too Precious to Trust to a Chain Store Retailer.
Dr. Hussey sees the HALO treatments as somewhat akin to colonoscopies. Like colon cancer, esophageal cancer can be slow to develop (although it is more aggressive than colon cancer). And just as colonoscopies have proven effective in catching and removing the polyps that can mutate into colon cancer, HALO can arrest the Barrett’s esophagus that plays a similar role in the esophagus. But he expects it may take a few years for the focus to shift to prevention, so that Bar- rett’s and esophageal cancer are caught early enough for the HALO to eradicate them. “We have new technology to treat the condition, but we’re not getting at the root of the problems,” Dr. Hussey says. “There’s more to it than we under- stand—but definitely obesity and diet play a role. Heartburn is rampant in America, and obesity is also rampant. For 25 years, I’ve been practicing in Naples. I’ve been a gastroenterologist for 30 years. I didn’t see nearly as much heartburn and obesity years ago. The incidence of esophageal cancer is also on the rise.” While there is no definitive causal link between acid reflux and the develop- ment of Barrett’s esophagus, the coinci- dence of the two is hard to dismiss. It’s obvious that stomach acid washing back into the esophagus irritates the mucosal lining—that’s where the pain of heart- burn comes from. It’s just a short step from there to imagine continual irritation of that sort actually prompting a change in cellular structure. If it’s continually forced to deal with intestinal acid, why not make itself more like the intestine in order to mitigate the irritation? And what are the main causes of heart- burn? While there are several things (including smoking and stress) that can play a role, overeating, pressure on the stomach from obesity (or pregnancy), and eating foods high in fats and oils are factors that top the list. Yes, there are medications that can effec-
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