St George, UT435-688-0759

Patient Education

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or dyspepsia is a condition wherein stomach contents can leak backwards into the feeding tube which in turn can cause heart burn or difficulty swallowing. You may also feel a lump in you throat, hoarseness, or have a chronic dry cough, especially in the mornings.

There is a tight ring of muscle fibers between the feeding tube and the stomach that is supposed to restrict the backflow of stomach contents.

Avoiding the following would help: chocolate, peanut butter, citrus foods, aspirin, Aleve, Motrin or ibuprofen, oily foods, peppers and spicy foods, carbonated drinks and alcohol.

GERD can cause recurring pneumonia, frequent sinusitis and also can predispose to Barrett’s Esophagitis which can lead to feeding tube cancer.

Losing weight can help but avoiding less inciting foods will decrease the need for acid reducers and antacids.

A marked weight loss, a constant cough, and abdominal pain are among other symptoms which should prompt you in seeking consultation with a health care provider.

Headaches

This can be cause by many things. Nasal allergies can be a culprit as well as sinus infections which definitely need antibiotic treatment. Muscle spasms in the neck can also cause debilitating headaches. A nice neck massage usually helps decrease the intensity of the pain.

If headaches become marked with difficulty swallowing, or garbled speech and muscular weakness or facial numbness, seek emergent medical attention. If a headache is so severe that you can call it the worst headache of your life, this is also a bad symptom. Check your blood pressure and if high, seek medical attention immediately.

Chest Pain

If you are feeling any chest discomfort usually associated with exercise accompanied by shortness of breath or excessive sweating, seek emergent medical attention. Exercise related chest pain especially relieved with rest requires special attention.

Depending on risk factors such as age, gender, smoking history, previous heart disease or early heart disease in the family, you may need a stress test or an angiogram which entails taking a picture of the heart during a procedure. If you are fit to run on a treadmill, a treadmill stress test can be ordered but if you have knee arthritis, back pain, lung trouble, or just have physical difficulty on a treadmill, a chemical stress test can be ordered. An angiogram requires a radioactive dye injected through the blood vessels in the groin to get a more accurate picture of the blood vessels in the heart. Depending on the results, medical management or further procedures such as stents or surgery may be advised.

Hypothyroidism

Underactive thyroid is a condition wherein the thyroid gland doesn’t produce thyroid hormone anymore. It can be caused by autoimmune problems, aging or undetermined reasons. Thyroid labs which can be drawn, among other things, are thyroid stimulating hormone, free t4, and a free t3.

Thyroid replacement entails taking a pill. Oftentimes, taking iodine or herbal supplements may not be enough. Symptoms of hypothyroidism includes weight gain, dry skin, cold intolerance, constipation, infertility, lethargy or insomnia, depression, poor concentration and memory, poor reflexes, thinning hair, and leg swelling. Thyroid trouble can also be brought about by physical or emotional stress. Talk to your healthcare provider if hypothyroidism could be a possibility.