Who Gets Barrett’s Esophagus?

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When GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) causes Barrett’s Esophagus, it means that the tissue lining along the esophagus has mutated into tissue that’s similar in the intestine.  Developing this condition increases the odds of developing cancer of the esophagus.

So who gets it?  How do you know when you have it?

Barrett’s Esophagus doesn’t necessarily have “symptoms”.  However, if you experience the complications that are associated with GERD, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.  This includes frequent acid reflux that can makes it difficult to swallow and digest food.  It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 people who have GERD will be diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus.

It’s important to recognize that GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus are not always directly related.  GERD is simply a common indicator that the risk of Barrett’s Esophagus has greatly increased.

A recent study has shown that this condition has increased in younger patients (55 and under).  Specifically, over 50 million patient records (from 2008-2013) were analyzed and found the overall share of Barrett’s Esophagus diagnoses increased.  Dr. Sasan Sakiani of the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland was able to take the data and find that people between the ages of 25 and 34 were especially high.

When it comes to patients over 60, it all boils down to your history.  If you’ve been experiencing serious bouts of acid reflux for 10 or more years, it’s recommended that you get screened for Barrett’s Esophagus.

Barrett’s Esophagus can be treated with common anti-acid reflux strategies, such as changing diet, decreasing tobacco use, drinking water and elevated sleep.  However, a doctor might also offer additional options to fight the problem.  This includes prescription medications and heartburn-related specific surgical procedures.

Contact Houston Heartburn to learn more about the different ways you can avoid and treat the symptoms of GERD, Barrett’s Esophagus and advanced acid reflux.  You can reach us at 832-324-3100.