Can Acid Reflux Cause Asthma
Patients with asthma are known to experience GERD and are likelier to develop acid reflux than people without asthma. This is because acid reflux can cause damage to the esophagus, leading to chronic coughing.
Overproduction of acid and constant exposure to stomach contents could also compromise the lungs, making it more susceptible to irritants like dust.
Developing Asthma Due to GERD
Its not just asthmatic patients who can be affected by GERD. Turns out that patients who are non-asthmatic can have respiratory problems due to reflux symptoms.
Wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty are tell-tale signs of asthma. Commonly diagnosed in childhood, adults can also develop asthma late in their lives due to a variety of reasons. Some patients can develop asthmatic symptoms while others go on to experience chronic asthma symptoms and eventually develop adult asthma.
Asthma can be caused by a variety of stimuli including exposure to allergens and persistent flu. Doctors tend to identify acid reflux, or GERD in particular, as the cause for asthma when:
- Asthma symptoms worsen after a meal
- Asthma begins during adulthood, after the patient experiences reflux symptoms
- Asthma doesnt get better with traditional asthma treatments
Is It Always Serious?
How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn
Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:
Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.
Here Are Some Other Lifestyle Tips To Reduce Reflux
- If you are overweight then losing weight can help reduce the pressure on the LES
- Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the stomach or promote relaxation of the LES. These include alcohol, carbonated or caffeinated drinks, chocolate, citrus, milk, peppers, and tomatoes.
- Quit smoking. Smoking weakens the LES and reduces saliva production.
- Eat meals earlier in the night, or just have a simple soup if you have to eat late.
- Try intermittent fasting to give your digestion a chance to fully digest your food before eating the next meal
- Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, blood pressure medications, steroids, and anti-biotic drugs can all contribute to reflux.
The Real Cause Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux & What To Do About It
Heartburn and acid reflux feel terrible, right?! Seriouslythe struggle is real for those who love food but worry about everything they put in their mouth because it could cause one of the most uncomfortable feelings they have ever experienced.
So, what do most people do?
They run for the TUMS, which may work for a second but doesnt stop heartburn from reappearing again. Some have even chosen to be on a proton pump inhibitor. However, they also find that it isnt consistently working and that it causes some pretty glamorous side effects, such as diarrhea, headaches and even rashes. Or maybe their physician gave them a prescription for a stomach acid suppressor or antacid, such as Prilosec, Zantac, etc.
Well, heres a newsflash that goes against what these options are trying to do
Heartburn and acid reflux are symptoms of a need for MORE stomach acid, not less!
Most people have been told that the reason for heartburn is because they have too much stomach acidthus, the prescriptions. However, the truth is that probably 90% of the time, those individuals have too little stomach acid! In fact, when the foundation of the issue is not fully addressed, a person may not only suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, GERD and food borne illnesses, but they may also struggle with parasites, anemia, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, allergies and depression.
To give you even more of a clear picture, heres the proper north to south digestion process and how things SHOULD work:
Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux
Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.
“Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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Can Heartburn Be Prevented Or Avoided
You might be able to avoid heartburn by making some lifestyle changes.
- Place 6- to 9-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed to raise it.
- Try to eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down. If you take naps, try sleeping in a chair.
- Quit smoking if you smoke.
- Lose weight if youre overweight.
- Dont overeat.
- Avoid tight clothes and tight belts.
- Avoid foods and beverages that give you heartburn.
What Causes Acid Reflux Disease
One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.
These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
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What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors are medications that decrease the amount of stomach acid that the stomach produces. They are more effective for providing heartburn relief than H2 blockers. They also work better to help heal the esophagus. Both over-the-counter and prescription versions of these medications are available. They need to be taken on an empty stomach. Examples of PPIs include lansoprazole , pantoprazole , esomeprazole , omeprazole , and Rabeprazole . PPIs should not be taken long-term nor in high doses because this is associated with an increased risk of fractures of the wrists, spine, and hips.
The Real Cause Of Most Acid Reflux
Many medical doctors will tell you that if youre feeling the burn, you have too much stomach acid and you need over-the-counter antacids or prescription acid blockers.
Following that advice might give you immediate relief, but these treatments will make the problem worse over time. Acid blockers, known as proton pump inhibitors reduce the production of stomach acid, and antacids neutralize the acid. These are great at reducing the amount of stomach acid you have, but they can actually aggravate your heartburn.
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How Is Acid Reflux Disease Diagnosed
It’s time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications don’t bring lasting relief. Symptoms such as heartburn are the key to the diagnosis of acid reflux disease, especially if lifestyle changes, antacids, or acid-blocking medications help reduce these symptoms.
If these steps don’t help or if you have frequent or severe symptoms, your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis and check for other problems. You may need one or more tests such as these:
- Barium swallow can check for ulcers or a narrowing of the esophagus. You first swallow a solution to help structures show up on an X-ray.
- Esophageal manometry can check the function and movement of the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
- pH monitoring can check for acid in your esophagus. The doctor inserts a device into your esophagus and leaves it in place for 1 to 2 days to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus.
- Endoscopycan check for problems in your esophagus or stomach. This test involves inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube with a camera down your throat. First, the doctor will spray the back of your throat with anesthetic and give you a sedative to make you more comfortable.
- A biopsymay be taken during endoscopy to check samples of tissue under a microscope for infection or abnormalities.
Lifestyle Changes For Reflux
In todays world, many people are eating on the run, eating out, eating too quickly and generally doing things that are not optimal for good digestive function. If your nodding your head saying yes to any of these then it is time to make some simple changes, the secret to success is to start small. This may include eating smaller meals, but the biggest key to success is to eat mindfully.
Eating mindfully means not eating in front of the television or any other type of screen, or at the desk while you continue to work, but eating in a relaxed environment where you just focus on eating slowly. I know this is impossible to do all the time, but try and introduce this style of eating most of the time and see what difference it makes to your digestion and reflux.
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Do You Have Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
Laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR is a type of esophageal reflux that doesnt involve the tell-tale sign of GERD: heartburn. As a result, patients have a difficult time understanding the nature of their symptoms. In most cases, patients with LPR dont even know they have reflux, which is why the disorder is called silent reflux.
LPR is caused by the same mechanism that triggers GERD. When the lower esophageal sphincter loosens, stomach contents travel back up the esophagus. In this case, stomach acids travel further up the pharynx, reaching the larynx and nasal pathways. As a result, a patient with LPR experiences symptoms like:
- Chronic cough
- Difficult swallowing feeling of persistent lump in the throat
- Post-nasal drip
How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
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Is There Surgery To Treat Acid Reflux
Surgery is never the first option for treating GERD. Changes in lifestyle, diet, and habits, nonprescription antacids, and prescription medications all must be tried before resorting to surgery. Only if all else fails is surgery recommended. Because lifestyle changes and medications work well in most people, surgery is done on only a small number of people.
The operation used most often for GERD is called fundoplication.
- Fundoplication works by increasing pressure in the lower esophagus to keep acid from backing up.
- The surgeon wraps part of your stomach around your esophagus like a collar and tacks it down to provide more of a one-way valve effect.
- This procedure now can be done laparoscopically. The surgeon makes a couple of very small cuts in your belly and inserts long narrow instruments and a fiberoptic camera through the slits. This method leaves little scarring and can produce a much faster recovery.
- A newer procedure, the LINX procedure, works by placing a ring around the lower esophageal sphincter and is less invasive than a fundoplication.
- Like all surgical procedures, fundoplication does not always work and can have complications.
What Triggers Indigestion
Depending on what’s causing your indigestion, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating , belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, “growling” stomach, and even diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours.
Indigestion can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, including ulcers, pancreas abnormalities, or acid reflux disease. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last for more than two weeks.
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How To Banish The Burn
Lifestyle changes can be very effective for those with mild to moderate acid reflux, says Pichetshote. Start with these tweaks and see if they help.
Avoid certain foods. To find what triggers your acid reflux, Mohan recommends keeping a food journal that includes what you eat and any symptoms that flare up afterwards. You may notice fried and fatty foods in particular cause trouble. There are chemical components in these foods that can affect receptors in the lower sphincter muscle, causing it to relax, Mohan says. Whats more, she says, because foods with greater fat content can take longer to digest, they may sit in your stomach longer. And the longer that food stays there, the more likely it is to be refluxed back into your esophagus.
Another potential trigger? Carbonated beverages, which can cause acid reflux by expanding our stomach, Pichetshote says: When we distend our stomach, it can cause a relaxation or lowering of the lower esophageal pressure.
Opt For Cooked Onions Instead Of Raw
Raw onions are a common trigger for acid reflux and heartburn.
One older study in people with acid reflux showed that eating a meal containing raw onion significantly increased heartburn, acid reflux, and burping, compared with consuming an identical meal that didnt contain onions .
More frequent burping might suggest that more gas is being produced. This could be due to the high amounts of fermentable fiber in onions .
Raw onions are also more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn .
Whatever the reason, if you think eating raw onion makes your symptoms worse, you should avoid it and opt for cooked onions instead.
Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.
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What Should You Know About Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .
Do most people get heartburn?
Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.
What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?
How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
How can you get rid of heartburn?
Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,
- eat a healthy diet,
- sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
- Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.
Large Meals And Fatty Foods
Heartburn most commonly occurs after eating a large and fatty meal. The effect of this doubles if the meal I consumed at night just before sleeping.
Heavy and fatty meals are very hard to digest.
Such type of food pressurizes the stomach, increases the acid production and relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle.
Indigestion also causes the food to be retained in the stomach for a longer time.
All these factors become worse at night time or just before lying down because it is even harder for the gut to digest food while the body is in a relaxation mode. Lying down should be avoided for at least 2 hours after eating.
How to avoid: for people with frequent heartburns or those who have tracked down their triggers to heavy and fatty meals, it is important that they should avoid fatty food or consuming food in very large quantities at a time.
Eating smaller and frequent meals help a lot in reducing heartburn as it doesnt pressurize the stomach to digest all the food at once. Also, it is important to note that fatty and heavy meals should be avoided before sleep at all costs.
A minimum of 2-hour gap should be kept between eating and lying down.
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The Lower Esophageal Sphincter
When you swallow food, it travels down the esophagus and passes through a muscular ring known as the lower esophageal sphincter . This structure opens to allow food to pass into the stomach. It is supposed to remain closed to keep stomach contents where they belong. If the valve is weak or damaged in some way, it may open and allow stomach contents and acid to travel back up, or reflux, into the esophagus. Acid reflux produces a burning sensation.