The nurse is instructing a patient with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) on potential complications if the disease is left untreated. The nurse includes which of the following?
• GERD can cause many complications including esophagitis, esophageal strictures, esophageal cancer, and Barrett's esophagus.
• Recurrent reflux can allow aspiration of small amounts of the gastric acids into the lungs, at times causing a reaction called pneumonitis (or aspiration pneumonia), but more commonly a chronic dry cough.
• Barrett's esophagus refers to an abnormal change in the epithelium cells lining the esophagus. It is a premalignant condition that places the patient at a high risk for esophageal cancer.
• Colorectal cancer, Crohn's disease, and hiatal hernias are not complications of GERD.