Symptoms of reflux disease, such as heartburn or indigestion, are often ignored or played down by people. While other sufferers will self-medicate through the use of over-the-counter antacids and acid-reducing treatments.
However, the NHS warns that suffering from heartburn most days, for three weeks or more, could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer, so finding it earlier makes it more treatable.
One way to keep an eye on your symptoms is to keep a symptom diary. It’s a simple way to record symptoms or activities in an organised manner over a certain length time and can help with diagnosing and managing your condition.
Make a note how often and what time of day a symptom, such as heartburn, appears and its severity. Keep a record of your diet (what you eat, the quantity and time of day), lifestyle activities, sleeping patterns and any medication that you have used and how helpful they were.
It is recommended that you keep a symptom diary for a few weeks to get an accurate overview of what is happening to help with an accurate diagnosis and ultimately the best treatment.
Symptoms typically associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) usually occur at distinct times and include heartburn and regurgitation. Symptoms associated with Airway Reflux and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) are often continuous and include hoarseness, lump in the throat, sore throat, chronic cough, throat clearing, voice changes, trouble swallowing and shortness of breath.
Other symptoms that are also associated with reflux include asthma, sleep apnoea, tooth decay and even snoring.