The Milwaukee Journal / Sentinel carried an article on March 19, 2012 expounding the creation of a device that will help sufferers of gastric reflux / GERD. If you are not familiar with this ailment you probably have heard it referred to as heart burn.
The food we eat enters the stomach through the esophagus and a valve that separates the two – the Cardiac Sphincter. Acid in the stomach works to break down the food so that it can be properly and fully digested by the body as it leaves the stomach and travels though the intestines. Okay – probably more biology than you wanted, but stay with me here a while longer.
The Cardiac Sphincter is designed as a one way valve – let the food into the stomach and keep the acid and digesting food from escaping back up. You can probably see where this is going. Gastric Reflux is when the stomach acid creeps back up the esophagus either due to mechanical failure of the valve, over production of acid or other medical causes. As a person who suffers from GERD I can tell you it is no fun to bolt up in bed in the middle of the night, awakened by the yucky surge of acid in your throat. The constant little cough during the day as gas fumes rise up through your throat and the bloated feeling after eating the wrong foods that encourage over production of acid.
The key is in the last sentence – the wrong foods. This implies that there are ‘right’ foods. Back to biology 101 – opposite of acid is alkaline. PH scale. Without going into too much detail here (but getting a full understanding of this is crucial to everyone’s health) our bodies tend toward acid through much of our diet and our activities. We need to consciously rebalance ourselves through making alkaline forming food choices. Enough said – back to the new invention.
Dr Reza Shaker, a gastroenterologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin has designed a collar that a GERD patient can wear around their neck while sleeping that will exert just enough pressure on the throat so as to keep the acid from rising up to where is detectable. Called the Reza Band it has caused the creation of a new company – Somna Therapeutics LLC.
Now I admit my only source of information about this devise is the Milwaukee Journal article, and this is only my opinion (heck, it my blog) but isn’t this a little lazy, poor health management and only asking for more trouble. Much of western medicine is focused on removing symptoms rather than solving the underlying cause of an illness. I think this takes the cake.
The symptom is a burning sensation in the throat, the cause is gas rising up the esophagus, the cause of that is a dysfunctional valve or too much acid which is usually the result of acidic food choices. So rather than having to make different food choices (all of which are healthier options anyways) I can simply wear a collar (like my dog).
When I was first diagnosed as having GERD, I had an endoscopy exam. Picture long flexible tube down your throat with a camera. The years of undiagnosed GERD had caused some serious damage to my esophagus, not bad enough that it couldn’t heal, but now my medical records read “precancerous”.
If a person chooses to wear a collar rather than redesign their menu, it seems to me they will still have acid running up their esophagus, and while it may not wake them up today, cancer or esophogial ulcers will be a real wake up call down the road. But hey, then I’d have to give up my white bread, fast food and junk food!
Here’s your take away – learn about acid / alkaline in your body and your food choices. For literally hundreds of years it has been believed that the PH balance of our bodies is the root cause of all disease. The blood and brain require specific PH values. The body robs other important organs to maintain this blood PH level. If you are not visibly dealing with gastric problems – you will be or might already be causing other problems without being aware of it. Do you pop TUMS or carry Rolaids with you? A teaspoon full of baking soda in water is an immediate help in nuetralizing stomach acid. The problem here is that the stomach needs the acid to properly digest the food. If we eat the wrong foods, or fail to mix acid forming foods with alkaline forming foods on our plate so they balance themselves, and then follow supper with some TUMS, we effectively diluted the needed acid and we don’t get the benefit of the nutrients in the food we ate. Enough said. Now go research this on your own – stay healthy, live to be old and wise.