Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
While research studies have shown a relationship between acid reflux and asthma, we still do not know if acid reflux actually causes asthma. But we do know that acid reflux can worsen asthma and asthma can worsen acid reflux — especially severe acid reflux, a condition known as gastroesophageal. G&H How prevalent is gastroesophageal reflux disease in asthma patients? there may be some relationship between symptomatic GERD and asthma-related .
However, there are a few possibilities as to why GERD and asthma may coincide.
Acid Reflex (GERD) and Asthma | Cleveland Clinic
One possibility is that the acid flow causes injury to the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making inhalation difficult and often causing a persistent cough. Another possibility for patients with GERD is that when acid enters the esophagus, a nerve reflex is triggered, causing the airways to narrow in order to prevent the acid from entering. This will cause a shortness of breath. If you have both asthma and GERD, it is important that you consistently take any asthma medications your doctor has prescribed to you, as well as controlling your exposure to asthma triggers as much as possible.
Some of these steps include: Raise the head of your bed by six inches to allow gravity to help keep the stomach's contents in the stomach.
Do not use piles of pillows because this puts your body into a bent position that actually aggravates the condition by increasing pressure on the abdomen.
Eat meals at least three to four hours before lying down, and avoid bedtime snacks. Eat smaller meals with moderate portions of food.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Maintain a healthy weight to eliminate unnecessary intra-abdominal pressure caused by extra pounds. Limit consumption of fatty foods, chocolate, peppermint, coffee, tea, colas, and alcohol - all of which relax the lower esophageal sphincter - and tomatoes and citrus fruits or juices, which contribute additional acid that can irritate the esophagus. Give up smokingwhich also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. Wear loose belts and clothing.
Aside from these steps, over-the-counter antacids can often relieve GERD symptoms. However, if after one to two weeks these medications do not help with your symptoms, your doctor may need to prescribe medications that block or limit the amount of stomach acid your body produces.
Under rare circumstances, GERD may only be treatable through surgery. When asthma symptoms are related to a problem with gastroesophageal reflux, one or more of the following are common: A diagnosis of GERD-related asthma is not always easily made. To weigh this possibility, your physician may ask you to monitor and record your asthma symptoms in detail over a period of time.
GERD and Asthma
In addition, you may be asked to undergo a hour study of your esophagus with an acid-sensing indicator to determine the presence or amount of reflux. If you have GERD-related asthma, this therapy should help reduce your asthma symptoms. What is the treatment for GERD- related asthma? The key to treating asthma symptoms related to GERD is to treat the gastroesophageal reflux and reduce the potential for damaging the lining of the esophagus from reflux.
Many patients who have GERD-related asthma symptoms improve once they successfully address the gastric reflux problem. Treating and managing GERD may be done in several ways. Several medications are available to help reduce the secretion of gastric acid.Is it Asthma or Acid Reflux?—Nemours Answers to Grow On
If over-the-counter medications do not help you after two weeks, be sure to tell your physician. Prescription medications to reduce stomach acid are often necessary.
Studies show that reducing your consumption of specific foods can help with GERD. Individuals vary in what foods they can tolerate, so you may have to do a little experimenting. Physicians recommend that people with reflux problems avoid fatty and fried foods; caffeinated drinks; onions; garlic; tomato-based products; citrus fruits; pepper; chocolate; peppermint; and alcoholic beverages. Less food in your stomach may minimize the possibility of reflux.
Nicotine may be a factor in causing the esophageal sphincter to relax. When this happens, reflux can occur. Unhealthy excess body weight can increase the pressure on your stomach and esophagus, causing reflux.
Avoid lying down after meals. You feel sleepy after a full meal, but lying down within three hours of eating can increase the possibility of reflux. Try keeping the head of your bed elevated, as well, to help reduce the role of gravity in causing reflux.
If you eat at least three hours before going to bed, it will allow your stomach to empty more completely, and reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. You may get some relief by wearing looser clothing around your waist and lower abdomen.
Who should treat GERD-related asthma?