Acid Reflux – Is GERD a Hereditary Disease?

109The question of acid reflux being a hereditary condition has not been researched very often. However, specialists have concluded that genetically speaking the chances of getting this disease by inheritance may account for 50% of the
sufferers. They have also concluded so far that the other 50% is due to diet. Of all the digestive diseases in the world, acid reflux is considered to be the
most common. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 people suffer from acid being regurgitated into the mouth and esophagus and/or heartburn. It is also known that a regular cycle of acid reflux occurrences gives people a higher risk of getting esophageal cancer.

In July 2003, scientists did studies with 2000 pairs of non-identical and identical twins, and found that 43% of the total who suffered frequent gastrointestinal symptoms and the chances of them developing acid reflux, were suffering or would suffer do to hereditary genetics. However, whether acid reflux is hereditary or not, there are other main causes. It is known that there are at a minimum of ten possible considerations.

Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages account for the first possible cause. These trigger problems by relaxing the digestive system and let the stomach’s contents to regurgitate into the esophagus.

The second possibility is chocolate which contains known amounts of theobromine. This can relax the esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to spurt back into the esophagus. Fatty and fried foods are another possible culprit. Such foods stay in the stomach a lot longer and reduce the speed of digestion. This causes over-filling of the stomach and the risk of food regurgitation.

Tomatoes and foods containing tomatoes can also cause acid reflux. Again,
tomatoes and the like will relax the digestive system. Alcohol helps to increase the amount of acid in the stomach. It also relaxes the digestive system, greatly increases the risks. Another troublemaker is tobacco smoking. As cigarette chemicals enter the lungs and the blood, they also impede on the ability of the digestive system and esophagus to work properly.

Meal sizes are a critical factor. Too large a meal over fills the stomach and can prevent the esophageal sphincter (lower) from closing. Again, the chance of regurgitating food into the esophagus increases. Citric juices and fruits can relax the lower esophagael sphincter. It can also add further acid to the stomach.

Food consumption in the few hours before going to bed is a definite trigger. Once you lie down with a full stomach the pressure is increased on the lower esophageal sphincter. Finally, tight fitting clothes and belts can impede on digestion. Anything that puts pressure on the abdominal area will do the same to the stomach. This will force food out of the stomach and into the esophagus.