Could you be experiencing gastrointestinal reflux disease? Known as GERD for short, this condition occurs as a result of chronic acid reflux. Unfortunately, Veterans are more likely to develop GERD for a variety of reasons (we outlined them here). Between stress from service and the physical demands of the military, this condition is seen time and time again by the VA – and us, as it's commonly claimed for VA disability benefits by our clients.
Note: Already diagnosed with GERD? Here's how NSAIDs and other medications might be making it worse.
If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have GERD. These are 9 common symptoms to look out for:
Heartburn is a hallmark sign of GERD – causing a burning sensation in the chest. This usually occurs right after eating, or late at night.
Difficulty swallowing – known as dysphagia – is common in people who experience GERD. Some people have reported a sensation of having something stuck in their throat.
Regurgitation occurs when stomach acid flows back up through the esophagus into the throat or mouth. This often occurs when bending low or laying down.
Due to regurgitation, GERD can result in chronic coughing. When the stomach acid flows up through the esophagus, the throat and airways can become irritated, causing frequent coughing.
The voice box (formally known as the larynx) can become inflamed as a result of GERD. In turn, this can cause laryngitis, which involves a sore throat and hoarseness.
Chest pain is a common side effect of GERD, and sometimes it can be severe. It is not uncommon for people to mistake this for symptoms of a heart attack – so knowing the signs is important.
Due to symptoms of GERD that commonly occur at night, such as coughing and regurgitation, disrupted sleep is an unfortunately common side effect of GERD. These sleep disturbances can have an impact on mental health as a result.
Unusually high amounts of saliva
In response to irritation caused by flowing stomach acid, the body may produce excess amounts of saliva in the mouth. This is known as water brash.
GERD can be a debilitating condition when untreated. If you're a Veteran suffering from the above symptoms, you may be entitled to VA disability benefits. With the right medical opinion from a qualified expert, you can get support and treatment.
Need help preparing a claim to get VA disability benefits for GERD?
We're here to help you with Nexus Letters, DBQs, chart reviews, and more. Make an appointment to get a chart review. For other services, check out our full list here. Don't guess your way through the VA disability claims process – get the competent evidence you need by working with our friendly team of medical experts.