Your dad gets heartburn regularly. He’s not worried, but you are. You’re not sure it’s worth taking him to the doctor, however. He’s on a limited income and a medical visit isn’t really in the budget. Here are some reasons to make an effort to talk to his doctor.
It Might Not Be Heartburn
Frequent heartburn might actually be a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If it goes untreated, the stomach acid can damage the esophagus. Painful inflammation may occur. It also increases the risk of ulcers and esophageal bleeding if the damage becomes too severe.
Over time, tissue damage may form scars. The resulting scar tissue may cause the esophagus to become narrow. It makes it harder to swallow foods and beverages. It also can lead to sharp pains that may feel like your dad is having a heart attack.
Chronic Heartburn Increases the Risk of Certain Cancers
While rare, there are cases where chronic heartburn leads to Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that occurs when GERD goes untreated. What happens is that the damaged cells on the esophageal lining get replaced with cells from other parts of the body, usually the small intestines. These cells have the potential to become cancerous.
Esophageal cancer is most common in men over the age of 50, obese men and women, or men and women who also smoke. If your dad has chronic heartburn and meets any of these other risk factors, he really needs to see a doctor and get on a heartburn treatment as soon as possible.
Common Treatments for Chronic Heartburn
Once he’s seen a doctor, your dad will likely be given a prescription for medications to ease heartburn and acid reflux. It’s important that he follows the instructions. If he has a hard time remembering to take his medications, he will need someone to help him.
Dietary changes are another suggestion. Your dad will need to avoid foods that trigger heartburn. You may want to have a homecare provider helping plan and prepare his meals. He may need someone to remind him to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Make sure your dad has the appropriate elder homecare services for his needs. Caregivers are happy to drive your dad to the store, escort him to doctor’s appointments, cook meals, and assist with light housework.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.