Posts for: May, 2019
Heartburn—sometimes the pain is awful, isn't it? Resulting from acid reflux, chronic heartburn can, and should be, treated to avoid more serious issues. At Digestive and Liver Center of Florida in Orlando, your team of seven board-certified gastroenterologists and their support staff help people monitor their Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, resulting in better GI health and overall well-being.
The symptoms of GERD
The American College of Gastroenterology says that 15 million adults in the United States exhibit persistent acid reflux symptoms. Often associated with an incompetent esophageal sphincter, GERD symptoms may include:
- Burning pain in the chest
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal bloating, burping, and gas
- Esophageal spasms
- Hoarseness of voice
- Difficulty swallowing or dysphagia (food comes stuck in the esophagus)
- Wheezing (asthma-like symptoms)
- A sore throat which persists
- Weight loss
Diagnosing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Your Orlando gastroenterologist diagnoses symptoms as GERD when they occur daily or consistently for two weeks or more. Additionally, the doctor will likely order state-of-the-art imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and to look for damage to the esophagus, strictures, or even evidence of cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions (such as Barrett's esophagus). Typical testing includes endoscopy, ph monitoring, and capsule endoscopy.
With the information gathered, your GI doctor will tailor a treatment plan suited to your individual needs and lifestyle. Treatments may include:
- Over the counter or prescription medications (H2 blockers, such as Zantac, or Proton Pump Inhibitors, such as Prilosec)
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Smoking cessation (ask your primary care physician about monitored ways to quit)
- Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding fatty and spicy foods
- Eating a diet higher in fiber, especially fresh fruits and vegetables
- Not eating two hours before going to bed
- Elevating the head of the bed
- Wearing clothing which is loose at the waist
- Limiting chocolate, coffee, sodas, and other sources of caffeine
A healthier you
Call Digestive and Liver Center of Florida right away if you have continuing acid reflux symptoms. You'll feel healthier and avoid unnecessary and serious complications. Phone the office team today at (407) 384-7388!
Finding a happy medium in terms of how much sugar the average person consumes is key. We @ Digestive and Liver Center of Florida encourage every patient to be mindful of how much sugar he or she includes in their diet. A good starting place is to moderate any soda consumption, candy, or other high-sugar items. Are you making it a goal to reduce any extra sugar on a weekly basis? What are your thoughts and perception on this subject?? It really does impact your overall health.
Consider these tips as a reference point on lowering your sugar:
- Instead of adding sugar on Oatmeal or cereal, add your favorite kind of fruit to sweeten it
- Opt for a low-calorie or sugar-free beverage (e.g. Sparkling water instead of Regular soda) to satiate a craving in a more healthy fashion
- Choose fruit rather than desserts
- Reduce the amount of sugar added into cakes and cookies. A good alternative to eliminate sugar completely from a recipe involves using unsweetened applesauce.
- Be aware of condiments like ketchup, and barbecue sauce; instead consider choosing lower sugar alternatives like salsa, mustard, and hot sauce.
- Read food labels and research the menus of various restaurants online to make informed decisions on-the-go
Have a safe Memorial day weekend as many families reflect on those that have served to protect our country!
~DLCFL Physicians and Staff
Dietary fiber is absolutely essential when it comes to improving digestion. To simply say, "eat more fiber" can sound cliche, so please allow me to explain how it can help you or a loved one. Do you know why fiber is so good for digestive health? This plant-based nutrient can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and many legumes (e.g lentils). Incorporating fiber from these natural sources can help one maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for Diabetes, Heart disease, and some types of Cancer. When selecting foods that contain fiber, you want to approach it with self-awareness and intentionality. That way you can rule out exactly how to add this into some of your meals or snacks. Dietary fiber includes the parts your body cannot digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, carbpohydrates, or proteins, this nutrient is not digested.
On the contrary, the fiber passes through your stomach, small intestine, colon, then out of your body. Fiber is classified as soluble, which dissolves in water and insoluble which is basically the opposite. Some sources of soluble fiber include: oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber includes foods such as: whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, legumes, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, etc. The amount of soluble and insoluble fiber varies in different plant foods. To maximize the benefit of including this nutrient into your diet, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
If you are wondering what other benefits are attained with adequate fiber, it includes the following:
- Normalizes bowel movements
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Aids in achieving healthy weight
- Helps you live longer
Now, how much fiber would a person actually need? If you are age 50 or younger, men require 38 grams of fiber, and women require 25 grams. On the other hand, if you are age 50 or older, men need 30 grams of fiber, and women need 21 grams of fiber. This is in accordance to the Institute of Medicine.
Need some tips to jumpstart your fiber intake? Then, please allow us to recommend the following:
- Switch to whole grains
- Eat more legumes
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Choose snacks carefully
Remember, at the end of the day...anything in excess is bad for your digestive health. Adding too much fiber too fast may cause intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. We recommend that you increase your fiber gradually for best results. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.
Lastly, do not forget to drink enough water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.
Probiotics are known as living, microscopic organisms that can help improve your digestive health. Probiotics are most often bacteria, but can also originate from other organisms such as yeast. Some of the benefits of incorporating enough probiotics into your diet either by the foods you consume or by supplement form include:
- heightened immune system
- better protection against infections
- Stops harmful "bad" bacteria from attaching to the gut lining and developing further
- Sends signals to cells to build up the mucus in your gut and help it act as a barrier against infection
- Stop or kills toxins released by certain bacteria that can make you sick
- Promotes the growth of other bacteria that can improve your health and wellbeing
- Maintains healthy skin and a healthy nervous system
Many kinds of bacteria are considered probiotics. The most common forms of common probiotic bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Probiotics are sold commericially in pill and powder form, and in foods (e.g. Yogurt). Be sure to consult with your doctor to figure out which probiotics are best for you.
Researchers are still learning which probiotic should be used for which symptoms or health issues. Probiotics can serve as an added supplement to respective treatments. However, they do not replace them. Some of the common health issues for which probiotics may help are the following: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Diarrhea, etc.
If a doctor has prescribed a probiotic for you, make sure to take it as recommended. If you do not, then the helpful effects of the probiotic may only last a short period of time.
As hippocrates once said, "all disease is rooted in the gut."
May marks the beginning of Hepatitis Awareness Month.
As observed by (Wolitski, 2016), "many partners across the federal government, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies, join with numerous non-federal and community allies to raise awareness of viral hepatitis during Hepatitis Awareness Month. The month-long observance includes national Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19th. These represent important opportunities to promote hepatitis testing and improve outcomes for the estimated 3.4 million to 5.3 million people living with viral hepatitis in the U.S., many of whom do not know they are infected." Viral hepatitis is known as one of many leading causes of death across the globe. Millions of people are affected yearly without even being aware at times. Other health statistics show that 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status. If left undiagnosed, the possibility of developing a fatal liver disease at some point in the life of a relative or friend is possible. However, with the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, you or a loved one does not have to suffer from this health condition.
With the inclusion of viral hepatitis in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recent adoption of the world's first international hepatitis strategy, are pivotal turning point in the world is medicine is before us. The need for political involvement is growing. This month if you desire to get involved assess your risk and please take action. Get social online and use the following hashtags in support: #HepAware, #HepTestingday, and #HepatitisAwarenessMonth to share valuable information on viral hepatitis that can help save more innocent lives.
From all of our staff at DLCFL,