12 posts from November, 2012

Up Your Awareness of GERD Before Chowing Down This Thanksgiving

Posted November 19th, 2012 by

GERD Causes the Backflow or "Reflux" of Stomach Contents, Causing Uncomfortable Symptoms

GERD Awareness Week, now in its 14th year, takes place November 18-24, 2012.  Yes, the week of Thanksgiving.

Given that many Americans celebrate this holiday with big meals (followed by seconds and thirds!), it’s the perfect time to spread the word about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause chronic heartburn and acid regurgitation as well as less commonly known symptoms such as laryngitis, a sudden excess of saliva and the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus.

How can you tell if you have GERD versus occasional heartburn?  Typically, when you have GERD or another more serious condition, heartburn will occur more than once a week and often become more severe at night, to the point where it can disrupt sleep.  If frequent bouts of heartburn are keeping you up at night, talk to your doctor.  You can also call the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) Helpline at 1-888-964-2001 (toll-free from the US) for information at any time.

Fortunately, treatments are available to combat GERD, which affects up to 1 in 5 adults in the US.  According to the 2,254 patients who are part of the GERD Community at PatientsLikeMe, some of the commonly prescribed medications include Omeprazole (Prilosec), Lansoprazole (Prevacid), Esomeprazole (Nexium) and Ranitidine (Zantac).  Click on each drug name to see the treatment evaluations our patients have submitted regarding effectiveness, side effects, cost and more.

A Snapshot of the GERD Community at PatientsLikeMe

Then, there’s also watching what you eat.  While GERD is not caused by diet, it can be aggravated by certain foods and eating habits.  To make this Thanksgiving a little more pleasant, consider avoiding the following foods and beverages:  chocolate, onions, fried foods, acidic foods, fatty foods, peppermint, caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol.  Eating late at night can also contribute to nighttime heartburn that leaves you restless and sleep deprived.

So, if you see family members who may be experiencing GERD, make sure they know the facts…before they dig into those midnight leftovers!


Join the “Now I Know” Video Campaign for National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Posted November 15th, 2012 by

“Today [my son] Jake is living a wonderful life, an extraordinary life, and now I know that’s possible.  When Jake was first diagnosed, we didn’t know that.  Now I know that…and that we’re not alone.”

Actor Greg Grunberg, father of a 16-year-old with epilepsy

Join the "Now I Know" Campaign by Submitting a Video About What You've Learned

When it comes to epilepsy, what do you know now that you wish you knew sooner?

That’s the question the Epilepsy Foundation is asking epilepsy patients and their families to ponder during National Epilepsy Awareness Month, which takes place every November. Share your struggles and successes in a video submission to the “Now I Know” campaign. Visitors to Epilepsy Foundation’s Facebook page will then have to the opportunity to vote on their favorites and share top videos with their social networks.  Ultimately, the top vote getters in each of four regions will win iPads and other prizes.

Affecting more than two million Americans, epilepsy is defined by the Epilepsy Foundation as “a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions.”  When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures – brief, strong surges of electrical activity affecting part or all of the brain that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes – they are typically considered to have epilepsy.  Symptoms can range from convulsions and loss of consciousness to more subtle signs, such as lip smacking, blank stares and jerking movements in the arms and legs.

A Snapshot of the Epilepsy Community at PatientsLikeMe

More than 7,000 PatientsLikeMe members are sharing their experiences with epilepsy, including their symptoms, treatments and more.  Using our Seizure Meter, members are also able to record their seizure history, including the type of seizure (e.g. clonic seizure, complex partial seizure, tonic-clonic seizure).  What are our members taking to control their epilepsy – and how well is it working?  Check out the hundreds of treatment evaluations submitted for common medications such as Keppra, Lamictal and Topamax and learn from others like you today.