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Compensation is Available for September 11th Survivors with GERD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition that occurs when acid from the stomach flows back up the esophagus and irritates the esophagus’ lining. While many people suffer from heartburn or acid reflux from time to time, GERD is more serious and occurs in mild form at least twice a week or moderate to severe form at least once a week. 9/11 survivors and responders are particularly susceptible to GERD; as of the date of publication, GERD is the second most-common condition certified by the World Trade Center Health Program. An attorney at Pitta and Baione is here to help, if you suffer from 9/11 gar

Symptoms of 9/11 GERD

GERD symptoms are similar to those of heartburn and generally present little cause for alarm when they first develop. Some common symptoms include: 

  • A burning sensation in the chest 
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food 
  • The sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Interrupted sleep

While GERD symptoms usually are mild to moderate, you should contact a doctor in the following scenarios:

  • You experience severe or frequent GERD symptoms
  • You take over-the-counter medication for heartburn more than twice per week

Contact Your Doctor and a Lawyer to Discuss Your Options if You Experience 9/11 GERD Complications 

Over time, GERD can cause chronic inflammation to the esophagus, which can lead to a number of complications, such as: 

  • Esophageal strictures occur when damage to the lower esophagus from stomach acid causes scar tissue to form, narrowing the pathway for food and leading to difficulty swallowing.
  • Esophageal ulcers occur when stomach acid wears away tissue in the esophagus, causing an ulcer. Ulcers can cause bleeding and pain and make swallowing difficult. 
  • Barrett’s esophagus occurs when stomach acid damage causes changes in the tissue lining the esophagus, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.

If you suffer from GERD, you should contact your doctor to discuss treatment options to minimize the risk of your condition becoming chronic. To find out what your potential legal options are as they relate to your complications, speak to a 9/11 lawyer as soon as possible.

The Connection Between World Trade Center Exposure and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

There is some evidence that exposure to the toxins of 9/11 has resulted in higher incidences of GERD symptoms among 9/11 survivors and responders. In a study published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers surveyed over 37,000 adults who lived or worked near Ground Zero who did not report any GERD symptoms before 9/11. Of those, 20% showed new GERD symptoms after 9/11, while 13% showed symptoms that persisted for at least five to six years. The researchers suspect that inhaled and swallowed dust — particularly dust containing alkaline cement — may have damaged the upper gastrointestinal tract and laid the groundwork for future GERD symptoms. 

Contact a September 11th Lawyer if You Are Experiencing 9/11-Related GERD Symptoms

GERD is one of the most common conditions among 9/11 survivors and responders. If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins and are now experiencing GERD symptoms, you may be eligible for benefits. For more information, please contact a 9/11 lawyer at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or calling us at 844-982-2667.


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