Silent Reflux: A Hidden Epidemic

Jamie Koufman, MD, F.A.C.S. Founder & Director, Koufman Reflux Director, Voice Institute of New York

Posted on | By Jamie Koufman, MD, F.A.C.S.

The Solution: Integrated Aerodigestive Medicine

Only a trained reflux specialist who knows what to look for in all affected areas and who has the right diagnostic tests is equipped to make an accurate diagnosis. Otherwise, a doctor may guess wrong and treat you for an illness that you don’t have. Some of the symptoms of silent reflux can sometimes be caused by other diseases, which doctors try to treat unsuccessfully, leaving you miserable, frustrated, and having wasted money on useless tests and drugs. 

Instead of focusing on the patient’s diet and lifestyle – the root cause of almost all reflux disease – doctors often employ pills, usually the wrong pills, that rarely correct the problem. In truth, reflux medications are grossly misused and over-used today.

A new medical field is emerging, one devoted to the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of reflux symptoms and all reflux-related breathing and digestive tract diseases. The name for this new field is Integrated Aerodigestive Medicine (IAM). This approach represents the leading edge of change in American healthcare. For the first time in the nation, Integrated Aerodigestive Medicine is available in New York City at The Koufman Reflux Center of New York. This groundbreaking approach is based upon my 30 years of scientific research and clinical experience.

You don’t have to be on medication for life; you can change your life, and you can be cured.

Silent Reflux Is an Epidemic

I am often asked if reflux is more common today or if we are just more aware of it? The answer is both. But make no mistake about it, reflux is now an epidemic. Esophageal and silent (airway) reflux have skyrocketed since the 1970s. The actual prevalence of reflux in America has increased from 10% in 1976 to a staggering 40% today.  

What You Eat Could Be Eating You

The reflux epidemic appears to be related to too much acid in the food supply! How did this happen? Following an outbreak of food poisoning in 1973, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set Good Manufacturing Guidelines for all food and beverages in bottles and cans. And what did they mandate? Acid, acid, acid. By law, everything in a bottle or a can must be acidic. This kills bacteria and prolongs the shelf life of products, but it also causes reflux disease.

Pepsin, the main digestive enzyme that digests protein, needs acid to work. Every time you reflux, pepsin is washed onto your sensitive tissues. Once a pepsin molecule is bound to, say, your throat or esophagus, any dietary source of acid can reactivate it: soda, salsa, strawberries. That’s why I say what you eat may be eating you.

Reflux medication is not the answer for most people. People who have reflux should see their doctors, because medication can just cover up the underlying problem. Just the same, if you have reflux, there is a lot that you can do by changing what you eat and when you eat it.

Article written by Jamie Koufman, MD, F.A.C.S.
Founder & Director, Koufman RefluxDirector, Voice Institute of New York