There are several complications that can occurs from GERD including a rare form of cancer called Barrett's esophagus.
Risk factors associated with
GERD also known as as acid reflux disease, occurs when the acid of the stomach backs up into the esophagus and burns the lining of the food tube and or the chest.
There are several factors or conditions that can increase your chances of getting gastroesophageal reflux disease which is the clinical name for GERD. These factors include:
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a rare condition that produces tumors in the pancreas)
Scleroderma and some other connective tissue disorders,
Very slow emptying of the stomach contents
If left untreated GERD can cause complications over time:
Narrowing of the esophagus
Over time the buildup of acid can cause scar tissue to form on the esophagus and this will narrow the tube making it difficult to swallow. The condition is called Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture).
An Esophageal ulcer is an open sore in the esophagus. Again, this condition is caused by the stomach acid and it can cause difficulty swallowing, pain and bleeding.
Barrett's esophagus is a precancerous condition where the lining and color of the esophagus changes. This type of cancer is very rare, but your doctor will want to monitor the condition and you will be asked to have a routine endoscopy every so often to make sure that cancer is not present.
The doctor's appointment
The doctor who treats GERD is a gastroenterologist. These doctors are specialists in treating digestive diseases
Preparing for the appointment
There may be some preparation and you need ask if no instructions were given. For example, you may be asked not to eat certain foods prior to the appointment.
Write everything down
You will need to write down your symptoms so you do not forget any of them.
Write down all the major changes or stresses in your life such as money problems, moving, other health concerns.
List all medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking including over-the-counter drugs, and the birth control pill.
Take a friend along who may help you to remember certain things to discuss with your doctor or will remember some of the things your doctor has told you that you might have forgotten by the time you got home.
The doctor's time is very limited. The more information he or she has about you, the better able he or she is to properly make an assessment of your condition; which could also mean ruling out GERD for something else, such as simple heartburn.