GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a back flow of acidic content that enters the esophagus from the stomach. When the esophagal sphincter becomes relaxed, content from the stomach could become backed up in to the esophagus and produce a burning feeling. This sensation is called heartburn.
It is estimated that seventy-five percent of asthma sufferers experience frequent heartburn and acid reflux. In asthmatic patients, when an asthma attack is present, the esophagal sphincter is relaxed, allowing for acid content for the stomach to back up into the stomach and cause heartburn to become present.
What is the correlation between acid reflux and asthma?
While the correlation between acid reflux and asthma is still unknown, experts have a few theories:
- Acid reflux probably causes irritation to the lungs and airways. This effects a person's breathing and sensitivity to cold, heat, pollution, and smoke.
- Another theory is that a nerve is triggered when acid content enters the esophagus from the stomach. This causes the airways to narrow and prevent the acid from coming in.
Some of the symptoms of GERD include:
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Infants with GERD may be irritable.
- Infants with GERD may arch their backs.
- Infants and children with GERD may not eat.
- Infants and children may not grow.
How can you control your symptoms?
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor and they can prescribe you medication to help with your asthma and acid reflux.
- Avoid fatty foods, alcohol, acidic foods (citrus fruits), coffee, and chocolate.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise.
- Raise the head of your bed by about six inches. This will help keep the acid content in your stomach.
- No smoking. Smoking will irritate your asthma and your acid reflux.
- Do not eat right before bedtime.
By following the above steps, you will be well on your way to feeling better and living life to the fullest.