GERD: What is it?

GERD:  What is it?  Do I have it? Can I file a claim for it?

Many Veterans have a lot of questions regarding claimable medical conditions.  Recently, we have chosen to focus in on a few of the common diagnosis’. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a biggie. GERD amongst service members is on the rise due to the condition getting worse over time.  What starts as heartburn can cause Esophageal Cancer as the acid breaks down the normal functions of the esophagus. While this is the worst case scenario, it still cannot go untreated. The VA recognizes GERD to be a disability, which means you can receive compensation for it.

GERD is caused by the upper sphincter flap not functioning correctly.  It is a small flap that keeps your stomach contents in your stomach. When you have GERD, this flap is allowing food and other stomach contents to float up to the esophagus, allowing it to break down the lining.


Symptoms of GERD

Let’s focus on symptoms. To file a successful claim, you must know what to look for.  Most of us have had heartburn from time to time and can relate to how uncomfortable it can make you.  However, with GERD there are several other symptoms you need to be aware of:

  • Gas and bloating, intestinal discomfort
  • A hiatal hernia
  • Indigestion
  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting

There is also nighttime GERD, which happens when you lay horizontally. Stomach contents can settle in the esophagus, causing discomfort. These symptoms include:

  • Coughing spells
  • Sleep issues
  • Breathing problems, including developing asthma
  • Extreme discomfort in chest and throat

Doctors have tests to check for this condition with stomach acid testing, x-rays, and tracking your symptoms.  It is essential if you suffer from any or all these conditions to seek medical treatment and adjust your lifestyle. Some solutions to help manage GERD include weight loss, exercise, diet adjustments, eating smaller meals, quitting smoking, and propping your chest at a 45-degree angle while sleeping. Retrieved from


GERD in Veterans

Alright, here is the big question.  Why is this so prevalent with service members, and how is it linked to your enlistment?  A big one is prescribed or over the counter medication. How many people have been told to take some ibuprofen and go back to work?  Don’t complain, here’s a pill? How many of you have had conditions that have had to be medicated over long periods of time? I am going to guesstimate it’s a large number.  

Long time use of medications is the leading cause of this condition.   Stress, anxiety, worry, anticipating the next requirement of your highly stressful job, go hand in hand with the job requirement and causing GERD. Retrieved from

This is a brief overview of GERD, and I would like to clarify that it is not coming from a trained medical doctor. However, if you are suffering from any or all these things, first seek medical help and stay diligent with getting treatment.  Secondly, contact us to get the ball rolling for help getting the link you need.

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