DENVER -- Does your stomach and throat burn after you enjoy a meal?
A condition called acid reflux affects thousands of people, and can be caused by stress, genetics or poor eating habits.
Now, doctors say you can develop reflux without heartburn, and in some cases it can be very dangerous. Doctors say some patients end up with asthma and even heart and lung problems as a result of acid problems, and have labeled it "silent reflux".
Acid reflux specialist Dr. Jaime Koufman says, “These people don't have heartburn and they don't know they have it, but it's also somewhat silent in the medical community. It snuck up on us.”
Doctors say testing for acid problems and eliminating other health conditions is the only way to track silent reflux.
Once the problem is diagnosed, patients have options such as taking medication. The LINX system is recommended for those with severe problems. LINX is a band that lets food into the stomach, then closes to block acid from coming back up into the esophagus.
Doctors say a change in lifestyle and diet is also important. To prevent reflux, limit fried foods and anything high in acids like tomatoes. A two-week detox can also help.
"The only thing you should drink during the first period should be a lot of water, a cup of coffee or two a day, stay away from alcohol," Koufman said.
Doctors say you should also be careful about the combinations of food you are eating. If you are drinking soft drinks which are high in acid and then enjoying sugary treats for example, it can do some real damage.
"If you have a burger with cheese, fries, and a carbonated beverage with a chocolate dessert you’re maximizing your chance of reflux particularly if it's late in the evening," Koufman said.
Information about Dr. Koufman’s book “Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure” can be found at http://www.refluxcookbook.com/.
For more information on preventing acid reflux and the latest treatments visit: http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/default.htm.