It’s a inflammatory disease of the esophagus or pharynx due to the regurgitation of the contents of the stomachoften associated with a malfunction of the cardia valve, which allows the ascent of gastric juices (hydrochloric acid, bile salts and pepsin, the enzyme that digests proteins). Symptoms are burning and pain behind the breastbone or throat with or without a scratchy coughchanges in the voice, frequent need to clear the throat. Often appears in forty-year-olds and its frequency increases with age, probably because the elderly have less saliva and secrete less bicarbonate so that the mucus becomes drier and they are unable to defend themselves from acidity: in Europe 30% of over-60s suffer from it.
She is favourite oesophageal hernia (when a portion of the fundus, the uppermost part of the stomach, slips over the diaphragm), Parkinson’s disease (which often causes difficulty swallowing), conditions that obstruct breathing (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis), all conditions prevalent in old age, and abdominal obesity, which pushes the stomach upwards (even advanced pregnancy favors reflux). Many nervous system medicines also promote it, especially benzodiazepines and antidepressants. The therapy it is based on the administration of so-called proton pump inhibitors, i.e. drugs that inhibit the normal production of acid in the stomach, i.e. prazoles (omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole…). In England 40% of over 60s, 35% of 40-60 year olds and 23% of young adults regularly consume lunches. It is probable that we have similar frequencies. These drugs have been very useful for reducing gastric ulcers and are essential for preventing damage to the stomach caused by other drugs (cortisone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but their prolonged intake is dangerous for various reasons: they can interfere with various anticancer drugs, anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, anti-hepatitis C; hinder the intake of minerals and vitamins; they favor fractures (due to calcium deficiency), cardiac arrhythmias (due to lack of magnesium), acute coronary syndromes, renal failure, infections, in particular very serious Clostridium difficile infections, colitis, some autoimmune diseases , and increase mortality (the issue is of course controversial but the best study shows a 17% increase in mortality after many years of treatment). The problem is that these drugs, although effective in reducing the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, do not cure itand too many patients continue to use them regularly for many years.
What to do
Many doctors and many patients do not realize the risks, and above all they do not realize that there are alternatives to prolonged treatment with these drugs. It is very important to lose weight if you are overweightreduce proteins, especially animal proteins (the more proteins you eat, the more acids your stomach produces to digest them), avoid junk foods (prepared foods, industrial sweets and artificial drinks)privileging Mediterranean dietalso due to its richness in protective fibres, exercise daily, avoid coffee, tea, alcohol and carbonated drinks, avoid tobacco, chew a lot (but a lot!). According to macrobiotics it is a very yin disease, so the tissues are relaxed and the cardia is no longer holding the contents of the stomach.
In our clinical experience a fundamental remedy is kuzua starch extracted from the roots of Pueraria lobata, roots that penetrate deeply into the ground, therefore very yang. Kuzu is used as a thickener for cereal creams, vegetable soups and fruit compotes. It only takes a few weeks to fix the problem. We have repeatedly observed this during the residential internships that La Grande Via organizes for elderly people. Reflux is one of the most expensive diseases. It costs tens of billions of dollars a year in the United States. In Italy, prazoli are the best-selling drugs (600 million Euros a year). As with antibiotics, medical journals are starting to publish articles inviting doctors to prescribe them with caution, but as with antibiotics, the inertia of habits, supported by commercial interests, is difficult to overcome.
January 11, 2023, 09:43 – edit January 11, 2023 | 09:43
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