Digestive Healthcare of Georgia’s Dr. Randy Yanda appeared on “The Weekly Check-Up” on WSB Radio on Aug. 21 and discussed Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease with host Dr. Bruce Feinberg.
Dr. Feinberg, the former president and CEO of Georgia Cancer Specialists, is very familiar with acid reflux disease, also known as GERD. Not only does he suffer from it but his mother did, as well.
Dr. Yanda discussed the basic condition that results in GERD. “That valve at the junction of the esophagus and stomach doesn’t close properly and allows things from the stomach to get up into the esophagus,” he said. “The stomach lining is built to resist acid… The esophageal lining is very wimpy when it comes to acid so when the acid gets up there, it causes heartburn — not in everybody but in most people.”
With the advent of a category of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), gastroenterologists have enjoyed much greater success in treating patients who suffer from GERD.
Dr. Feinberg recalled his mother sleeping with a bottle of Maalox on her night table and TUMS being ubiquitous throughout her house. Dr. Feinberg himself inherited the problem and said he has tried a multitude of fixes: eliminating coffee from his diet, completely eliminating alcohol and even elevating his head six inches above his feet during sleep.
None of them quite have given him the same relief as PPIs. All of which illustrates one of the basic problems associated not just with GERD but with a number of other medical conditions and diseases. Dr. Yanda said that perhaps one factor that could serve to motivate patients who suffer from GERD is recent research that has indicated that long-term use of PPIs can be associated with some serious medical conditions, including dementia.
“That’s the big challenge,” said Dr. Yanda, who was recently named a Top Doctor by Atlanta magazine and has earned the distinction as a National Top Doctor from the medical research company Castle Connolly. “As more of these reports come out about the potential risks of these drugs, maybe people will be more motivated to do some of these (lifestyle changes) but it’s hard. Cardiologists, diabetes doctors — all these patients have diseases they’d be better off with weight loss but it’s just hard to get patients to lose weight.”
Dr. Yanda also fielded a wide variety of questions on GERD, as well as colorectal cancer and screening, from the show’s listeners. The Weekly Check-Up has more than 50,000 listeners each week.
To listen to Dr. Yanda’s entire appearance, click here: