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English for PTA


No, the article this month is not about a man called Gerd! GERD is the abbreviation, at least in American English for: gastroesophageal reflux disease. The oesophagus becomes irritated by too much acid.

Seite 1/1 3 Minuten

Seite 1/1 3 Minuten

Various lifestyles and/or medical conditions may cause heartburn and acid reflux. Among these conditions are: overweight, smoking, diabetes, hiatus hernia and pregnancy to mention but a few. The symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux may accompanied by inflammationof the vocal folds, as well as pain in the area of the upper sternum, and a sour taste in the mouth. In the case of a hiatus hernia, part of the stomach lining pushes into the oesophagus when the oesophageal sphincter no longer closes correctly. A lot of people have slackening of the sphincter, but most are not affected by it. It’s when symptoms persist that people realise there is something wrong.

Male pharmacy customer: Hallo. Do you speak English?
PTA: Hallo. Yes, I do. How may I help?

On and off for the past months I have been waking up in the middle of the night with a pain in my chest and a horrible sour taste in my mouth. Recently, it’s been happening during the day too. It’s very unpleasant.
This pain in your chest, does it radiate out into your arm?

No, not really. If it did I think I’d go to my doctor.
Yes, that is right. Do you notice theses symptoms after eating certain food, or drinking any type of alcohol?

Well, now that you ask…yes, I notice it when I’ve eaten very oily food or food with lemon juice in it or when I drink anything like orange juice.
And you don’t smoke, do you?

No, never have. Don’t like the things. Why?
I think you are suffering from something called acid reflux and smoking is one of the causes of reflux.

I don’t like the sound of that! What can I do?
Firstly, I recommend that you start taking this very effective antacid. It’s usually the first step to start alleviating the symptoms. It shouldn’t be taken over a longer period though as it can cause constipation or diarrhoea.

Isn’t there anything a little stronger?
Yes, we also have this OTC proton pump inhibitor.

A proton pump inhibitor? What does that do?
Basically, what a PPI does is reduce gastric acid production over a longer period.

Where is the difference between an antacid and a PPI?
An antacid deals directly with the symptoms of acid, the reflux and the horrible taste. A PPI on the other hand, not only reduces gastric acid, at the same time it also gives the oesophageal lining a chance to heal.

Well, I think it’s not that bad yet! So, I’ll start with an antacid and if that doesn’t help in the next couple of days, I’ll come back for the PPI. What do you think?
I think that’s a very sensible idea. And if nothing works, you may need to go to your doctor and ask about a gastroscopy.

Thank you. Goodbye.
Bye, bye! 


gastroöesophageale Refluxkrankheit
abbreviation Abkürzung
irritated gereizt
medical condtion Erkrankung
heartburn Sodbrennen
acid Säure
hiatus hernia Zwerchfellbruch
pregnancy Schwangerschaft
accompanied by begleitet von
inflammation Entzündung
vocal folds Stimmlippen
sternum Brustbein
stomach lining Magenschleimhaut
oesophageal sphincter Speiseröhrenschließmuskel
slackening locker werden bzw. erlahmen
persist anhalten
radiate ausstrahlen
lemon juice Zitronensaft
alleviate lindern, verringern
constipation Obstipation, Verstopfung
proton pump inhibitor (PPI) Protonenpumphemmer
sensible vernünftig
gastroscopy Magenspiegelung

Den Artikel finden Sie auch in Die PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 11/12 auf Seite 66.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker