(Watertown) Officials at Watertown Regional Medical Center are highlighting the symptoms and effects of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. An estimated one in every five American adults suffers from the disease. It is a chronic condition caused by changes in the gastroesophageal valve that allow contents to flow from the stomach back into the esophagus. Left untreated, it can be a lifelong disease. It can lead to bothersome symptoms, which can vary from mild or moderate to severe depending on the individual. Typical symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest, regurgitation of food or sour liquid, and difficulty swallowing. Health officials say the disease is not an acid problem, instead it is caused by an anatomical issue. The acid stomachs produce is important for digestion, killing harmful bacteria and helping with the absorption of electrolytes and other nutrients from the foods we consume. The disease occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus is not working properly and fails to keep contents in the stomach from washing back up into the esophagus. If left untreated the disease can lead to other health complications including damage to the throat or esophagus, inflammation, or respiratory complications. A link to more information can be found at DailyDodge.com.