I'm trying to get a handle on my symptoms, so I figured I would post here to a) determine what else I can be doing to improve them, and b) determine if I have a different or more serious problem than GERD.
Backstory: I'm 32. I started dealing with reflux when I was in my early 20's. Back then, the only symptom was the reflux of acidic, burning fluid, mainly brought on by alcohol and coffee with sugar. I used Zantac for years, which helped manage the problem. I upgraded to Prilosec OTC in my late 20's, and have been on prescription Prilosec for two-plus years now. Prilosec used to work perfectly, but it's not working well now. I'm 6'0, 195. I exercise some (golf, walking) but could stand to exercise more. I was diagnosed with Barrett's (no dysplasia) two-and-a-half years ago. The area was small, less than a centimeter. When it was retested a year later, it hadn't progressed. That was Jan. 2011.
Starting in March, things took a turn for the worse. I get a fair amount of chest pressure right in the middle of my chest; sometimes it's bad enough that I get short of breath just sitting in a chair and talking (though that is relatively infrequent). When things are bad, as they are today, I get a general achy, burning feeling in the center of my chest that does not subside much with eating or medication. I also get muscle weakness in the center of my chest, which makes it somewhat painful to sit up. I occasionally get hoarse (maybe once a month), and, when things are bad, dry food will momentarily get stuck in my throat, though this does not happen when things are good.When things are good, I don't get many symptoms other than mild chest pressure (comes and goes).
Clear triggers are catsup (the worst), excess processed sugar, excess coffee (more than one cup a day), tomato sauce, hard alcohol, orange juice, and sometimes wine, all pretty clear cut stuff.
I'm particularly worried about the chest pain and muscle weakness, and that the condition generally seems to be getting worse. I'm used to the annoyance, but it is becoming unmanageable. When I call the doctor/gastroenterologist, the answer I usually get is "take more Prilosec." That worked well at first, but is not working now. I am hoping this will not just continue getting worse for the rest of my life.
If anyone has similar symptoms - specifically the chest pain and weakness - and has had some success improving the symptoms, please let me know.