GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

Stethalgia

Is Weight-Loss Surgery Right for You?

Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a safe and effective treatment for individuals suffering from morbid obesity, a serious health condition that can interfere with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Obesity puts people at greater risk for illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

To be considered morbidly obese, you must have a BMI of 40 or more or be 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. These are important for qualifying for a bariatric procedure.

People seeking weight-loss surgery are not usually considered candidates unless they have tried and failed to lose weight through traditional forms of treatment. People at high risk for disease or who have a life-threatening condition, including those with a disabling condition from obesity, are often considered good candidates for surgeries such as gastric bypass. People with a genetic condition that causes obesity are candidates as well.

Are you a candidate?

Weight-loss surgery may be right for you if:

  • Your BMI of 40 or more.
  • Your BMI is 35 or higher, and you also suffer from one or more health problem such as Type 2 Diabetes or Hypertension.
  • Your past attempts to lose weight have been unsuccessful.
  • You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
  • You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.

Other guidelines can include an extremely high body mass index, obesity that exists for five or more years, no history of alcohol or drug abuse, and no untreated psychiatric disorder. Candidates are typically between the ages of 18 and 65. Certain adolescents may be eligible for weight loss surgery, too.

Being a good candidate means having realistic expectations. Weight-loss surgery can help reduce your risk of life-threatening conditions and improve your overall health and appearance, and these changes should improve your quality of life; however, surgery alone is often not enough to turn your life around. Significant behavior modifications are necessary.

To decide about the gastric bypass procedure and to find out if you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery, talk to the doctors at VIP SURG. Their experts can help you find the right weight-loss treatment for your unique situation.

Bariatric Surgery - medical concept

Obesity in America: The Unhealthy Truth

Most Americans are overweight. Most – let that sink in for a minute. The majority of American adults are at least carrying around a few more pounds than is considered healthy. Severe obesity is also on the rise across the country. Unfortunately, these stats tell a story that won’t have a happy ending unless something changes:

  • Nearly 40% of adults and close to 20% of adolescents are obese in America. 
  • A body that is 20% overweight is prone to major health problems. 
  • Life expectancy is greatly reduced in someone who is obese.
  • The obesity problem is growing everywhere, but rural areas tend to have both higher obesity rates and much greater rates of what medical researchers term “severe obesity,” which is a BMI of 40 or more.

The main concern with this alarming trend is that being overweight affects all areas of your health. Carrying around extra weight not only make you feel heavy, but it also contributes to other health problems like sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol, painful joints, and heart disease.

 The good news is that these risk factors can be eliminated by losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The bad news is that changing behavior long-term is extremely difficult for all but the most committed. For the very obese, even commitment and willpower often aren’t enough.

Eating the wrong foods, eating too much food, lack of exercise, genetics, stress, emotional eating, and a slow metabolism are the major contributing factors in obesity. Nevertheless, even though we are more aware than ever that nutrition and health value should be playing a bigger role in our selections when it comes to choosing what we eat, most Americans surveyed still listed convenience as their number 1 priority when deciding.

Whatever its causes, believing severe obesity can be managed or eliminated by having a low-fat diet and engaging in exercise is a bit naïve. When a person is 50, 70, or 100+ pounds overweight, it can be difficult to impossible to diet and exercise enough to lose the troublesome weight. 

Unfortunately, diet, exercise, and weight-loss pills are generally ineffective for severely obese people. Studies have demonstrated that when the BMI reaches 40, the chances of success with medical therapy for weight loss are approximately 1%. 

Since 1991, the National Institute of Health has supported bariatric surgery as a treatment for morbid obesity when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

Surgery can help a person lose weight so that they are able to exercise better to maintain a healthy weight loss. Some obese people need weight-loss surgery because, despite drug therapy, exercise, and behavioral modifications, they still have increased risk of comorbid conditions including heart disease and diabetes. These are the people who are often candidates for bariatric (weight-loss) surgery.  

Obesity is a common and complex medical condition, losing weight isn’t easy to do, and there’s really no magic cure. If it were simple, everyone would be healthy and trim. However, if you are at an unhealthy weight, you must start somewhere. Going it alone into a crash diet isn’t a good idea. You will put the weight back on, and chances are you’ll gain even more than you lost. Checking with your doctor, who can advise you on a plan that is safe and right for you, is a good way to begin your journey to a healthier, happier you.  

If you’ve tried diet and exercise but still aren’t losing the weight you need to lose to be healthy, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

Lady eats hamburger

When GERD is the Word – What to Consider when Diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Many people experience acid reflux from time to time – that feeling commonly thought of as heartburn or acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week. While most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, some people with GERD may need stronger medications or surgery to ease symptoms.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you:

  • Experience severe or frequent GERD symptoms
  • Take over-the-counter medications for heartburn more than twice a week

When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. Then the sphincter closes again.

If the sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, often causing it to become inflamed.

Conditions that can increase your risk of GERD include:

  • Obesity
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
  • Pregnancy
  • Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
  • Delayed stomach emptying

Factors that can aggravate acid reflux include:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals or eating late at night
  • Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
  • Taking certain medications, such as aspirin

Your doctor is likely to recommend that you first try lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. If you don’t experience relief within a few weeks, your doctor might recommend prescription medication or surgery.

The options include:

  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acid 
  • Medications to reduce acid production known as H-2-receptor blockers
  • Medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus known as proton pump inhibitors
  • Medication that helps strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. 

GERD can usually be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, but if these don’t help or you wish to avoid long-term medication use, consider the revolutionary LINX device. This device consists of a ring of tiny magnetic beads which is wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the beads is strong enough to keep the junction closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through when swallowing. The LINX device can be implanted using minimally invasive surgery.

As the first LINX-trained surgeons in Las Vegas and as the first digestive institute in the area to offer the only FDA-approved treatment for GERD, Dr. Shawn Tsuda and Dr. Heidi Ryan at VIPSurg are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease. Call  702-487-6000 to schedule an appointment. 

anatomy-demon (3)

GERD and Hiatal Hernia: Could LINX® Reflux Management System Be Right for You?

Acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion are all common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This common problem afflicts over 20 million people every day here in the United States.

A hiatal hernia is when the stomach slips up into the chest. Hiatal hernias can worsen acid reflux because the typical sphincter mechanism in the lower esophagus is dysfunctional, and there is a mechanical disturbance of the natural flow of solid foods and liquids. Pregnancy, obesity, coughing, or constipation increase intra-abdominal pressure, which can worsen the symptoms of reflux and worsen a hiatal hernia.

Generally, hiatal hernias occur more often for patients who are overweight, women, and over 50 years old. Hiatal hernias can be diagnosed with upper endoscopy (EGD), an esophagram or upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series.

The LINX® Reflux Management System is a small and flexible band of interlined titanium beads with magnetic cores. To select the right size, the esophagus is measured with a specialized tool for all patients undergoing placement of a LINX device. First, a necklace-like tool is placed around the lower esophagus at the level of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to get the best fit for the LINX device. The measurement tool is then removed, and the LINX device is implanted, making sure the ends of the band are aligned and securely linked.

Magnetic attraction between the beads helps the lower sphincter resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux of the acidic content in the stomach into the esophagus. The device is designed so that normal swallowing pressures temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Due to the magnetic attraction, the device will assist in closing the lower sphincter immediately after swallowing, augmenting the lower esophageal sphincter and restoring the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

If you suffer from GERD and would like to decrease, or in some cases, completely stop taking medication for this problem, the LINX® Reflux Management System could be the perfect solution for you. Schedule an appointment at VIPSurg to learn more.

anatomy-demon (3)

LINX: A Small Device Getting Big Results

Most of us experience heartburn or indigestion once in a while. Sometimes it comes from overeating; other times it happens from eating or drinking something acidic or spicy which irritates the digestive tract. Frequent heartburn, however, can be a sign of a more serious disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. While GERD can often be controlled with diet changes and/or medication, more severe cases require surgery. The LINX device and procedure is changing the lives of people who suffer from chronic GERD.

Doctors believe that some people suffer from GERD due to a condition called hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm muscle which separates the abdomen and chest.

The diaphragm has a small opening (hiatus) through which the esophagus passes before connecting to the stomach. With a hiatal hernia, the stomach pushes up through that opening and into the chest.

A small hiatal hernia usually doesn’t cause problems. You might never even know you have one unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition. A large hiatal hernia, however, can allow food and acid to back up into the esophagus, leading to heartburn.

You might think that although heartburn can be very uncomfortable and even quite painful, surgery seems like an aggressive treatment for a common condition. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of GERD can be increasingly serious.

Left untreated, GERD can cause:

  • Esophagitis – inflammation of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal stricture – the esophagus becomes narrow, making it difficult to swallow.
  • Barrett’s esophagus – the cells lining the esophagus change into cells similar to the lining of the intestine. This can develop into cancer.
  • Respiratory problems – it is possible to breathe stomach acid into the lungs, which can cause a range of problems including chest congestion, hoarseness, asthma, laryngitis, and pneumonia.

Fortunately, when changes in lifestyle, diet, and medication don’t help, there is a Actual size.Actual benefits are immeasurable.minimally invasive procedure that is having life-changing results for GERD patients. It’s called LINX. This simple ring of titanium magnets is a small device that brings big results.

LINX is easy to understand and love because it is simple. The beauty of this quarter-sized device is that it does exactly what your failing LES is supposed to do — prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus.

Why is LINX so great?

  • Unlike other procedures to treat reflux, LINX is implanted around the outside of the LES and requires no alteration to the stomach.
  • LINX preserves normal physiological function so you can belch or vomit as needed. The titanium beads open and close to let food down, and if it needs to come up, it can.
  • Designed for a lifetime. LINX is constructed of titanium, and the permanent magnets mean LINX will be working for you for the long haul.
  • Designed for everyday life. The device will not affect airport security. And you can still have an MRI.
  • LINX is designed to start working the moment the device is implanted.

Are you ready to take back control of your digestive health? LINX is intended for patients diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and who are seeking an alternative to continuous acid suppression therapy. Are you concerned with a lifetime of medication, pharmacy visits, and potential side effects? If this sounds like you, and you live in the Las Vegas area, schedule a consultation at VIP Surg. LINX can change your life.

 

 

 

 

Metabolic Syndrome: The New Silent Killer

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding, and there is increasing cause for alarm. Experts are saying metabolic syndrome is the new “silent killer,” like hypertension in the 1970s. As it turns out, the “love handle” can be fatal.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders. When a patient presents with these conditions together, the chances for future cardiovascular disease is greater than any one factor presenting alone.

What are Metabolic Risk Factors?

Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase one’s chance of developing a disease. The five conditions described below are metabolic risk factors. You can have any one of these risk factors by itself, but they tend to occur together. You must have at least three metabolic risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

  • A large waistline. This also is called abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape.” Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 11.41.55 AMExcess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
  • A high triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides).
  • A low HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol).
  • High blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure).
  • High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar).

Your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke increases with the number of metabolic risk factors you have. The risk of having metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight and obesity and a lack of physical activity.

Insulin resistance also may increase your risk for metabolic syndrome. Genetics (ethnicity and family history) and older age are other factors that may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome.

Can Metabolic Syndrome be Treated?

Metabolic syndrome is becoming more common due to a rise in obesity rates among adults, but it is possible to prevent or delay metabolic syndrome, mainly with lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment. Successfully controlling metabolic syndrome requires long-term effort and teamwork with your health care providers.

When changes in lifestyle alone do not control the conditions related to metabolic syndrome, your health practitioner may prescribe medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and other symptoms. Carefully following your practitioner’s instructions can help prevent many of the long-term effects of metabolic syndrome. Every step counts, and your hard work and attention to these areas will make a difference in your health.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for answers to obesity and metabolic syndrome problems, schedule a consultation with VIP Surg. Dr. Tsuda and Dr. Ryan and their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.