Some 30-Million Americans Suffer From Acid Reflux

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Acid reflux has been known to cause everything from heartburn and a chronic cough to hoarseness and even cancer.

Some 30-million Americans suffer from acid reflux, CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported.

Roy Gernhardt was among those 30-million. He used to gobble antacids to treat his condition.

“You get the bulk antacids and you keep it in the glove compartment of every one of your cars. You keep one in the desk at work. You keep one beside your bed,” he said.

Gernhardt’s struggle is familiar to many Americans.

“About 44-percent of Americans get reflux at least monthly and at least 7-percent of Americans get reflux on a daily basis,” Dr. Hiran Fernando said.

The most common reflux treatments involve a group of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors that block the production of stomach acids. This includes Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, and Protonix.

The drugs didn’t work for Gernhardt so he opted for a different treatment, a device known as a Lynx. A Lynx is an elastic string of tiny magnetic beads that is implanted laparoscopically.

“As you swallow hopefully you can see that food will come down and then boom, the thing opens and then it closes and then this will stop reflux from occurring below in the stomach,” Dr. Fernando said.

For Gernhardt the device may have been a lifesaver.

“I had a 30 to 35-percent chance of dying of esophageal cancer by time I am 65,” he said.

The longest follow-up with Lynx is about six years, 85-percent of patients said that they have completely come off of their reflux medication.

Medical experts said that Lynx should only be used by patients who have failed to get relief from their medications.

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