Continuous, untreated reflux symptoms can lead to a very poor quality of life and may also lead to serious problems, such as damage to the oesophagus, Oesophageal Cancer and, in some cases, Cancer of the Larynx.
It is equally as dangerous to receive reflux treatment without getting confirmation that your symptoms are caused by reflux. Taking medication unnecessarily can cause long-term health problems and may mask a serious problem.
Many people can take medication for months or years without understanding or learning the risks.
For example, recent research has associated an increased risk of heart attack in patients who take reflux medication known as PPIs but have no prior history of cardiovascular disease. Long-term use of PPIs has also been associated with lower calcium absorption, decreased absorption of magnesium, increased chance of pneumonia and a rise in Clostridium difficile infections.
To get a clinical diagnosis for reflux, your doctor will listen to and discuss your symptoms and, depending on the severity, either prescribe medication or refer you to a Consultant Gastroenterologist, ENT specialist or Chest/Respiratory Physician for further investigation.
Peptest is a rapid, accurate, painless and inexpensive saliva test that tells you conclusively if you are suffering from reflux disease. It measures the presence of a stomach enzyme called pepsin in a sample of saliva.
The word pepsin is derived from the Greek word Pepsis meaning digestion and is a proteolytic enzyme essential for the digestive process in your stomach helping to break down food and protein. However, when found outside of the stomach pepsin along with acid can be highly corrosive to tissue and can if untreated be dangerous.
Because pepsin is only produced in the stomach, if it is found outside of the stomach it is because gastric contents have been refluxed and can be a strong indicator of reflux disease.