Reflux and asthma?

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cairnlover
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 6/10/2013 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I am confused again. Still not heard from consultant after gastroscopy four weeks ago so went to see GP as the 40mg omeprazole (previously 20) was givng me headaches. So GP has changed me to Esomeprasole 20mg. However, he has some communication from Consultant relating to my seeng him in April and he felt my breathlessness/cough ma be due to asthma! So now got to see Nurse at my drs to have that tested for as he was concerned by me being a bit wheezy.
I always felt that the hiatus hernia and reflux were causing this problem and so cannot understand why I should be suddenly be thought of as asthmatic.
Just wondering if a hiatus hernia/reflux can cause you to become asthmatic (if I am but cannot get appointment to check for couple of weeks) and if anyone else has had this query?

mudmagnetmum
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 6/10/2013 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Asthma and reflux can play off each other. I have had asthma since childhood but have worked out recently that my reliever inhaler seriously increases my reflux symptoms and pain. Any wheezing can squeeze the diaphragm and contribute to reflux, and reflux itself can irritate the airways.

They're probably trying to rule things in or out at this stage so best to play along!

Is it hay fever season where you are? Sometimes that sets it off in adults who have not had asthma before.

MMM
GERD (3 years and counting)
Lifelong stuff: Food allergies/intolerance, eczema, asthma

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/10/2013 7:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi cairnlover,
Like mudmagnetmum, I've had allergies and asthma since I was a child (I'm now 61).  Probably 15 or so years ago my primary care doc figured out that my reflux was making my asthma worse.  He put me on PPIs, and they seemed to control the situation for quite a long time.  (In the meantime I still had allergies and asthma due to pollen, but it was very manageable.)
 
about 9 years my lungs started taking a dive.  My reflux had gotten worse, and my asthma followed.  Asthma and reflux go hand in hand.  Reflux doesn't cause asthma, but if you already have asthma, reflux can create real problems.
 
I ended up getting a Nissen fundoplication to control the reflux (4+ years ago) after about 6 years during which my lungs were extremely unhealthy and even "life threatening" according to my PCP. 
 
Some people without asthma get lung problems from reflux as well, which may be your situation, but if someone already have asthma, it's important to make sure to keep reflux in control.
 
Sorry you're having problems!  Hope they get straightened out soon.
Take care,
Denise
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

cairnlover
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 6/11/2013 1:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, I have not had asthma in past. Have been breathless in past but that is due to congenital heart valve problems which have never been a major problem. Have skin allergies and suffer from Nodular Purigo, I do nt eat wheat as that helps with skin and IBS. So along with reflux/hiatus hernia feel have enough problems without adding asthma!!
So will see what the spirometry test reveals anyway. But am convincved it is something to do with the reflux and was interested to know if anyone else had developed it after having reflux and hiatus hernia?

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/11/2013 7:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi cairnlover,
It is fairly common when people have LPR to have lung symptoms that mimic asthma.
 
LPR is a form of GERD. 
 
The reflux (even tiny amounts) gets into the airways and irritates them--creating symptoms that are like asthma, but not actually asthma. In this case, once the reflux is under control, this problem goes away. 
 
There are times when people have mild, undiagnosed asthma, and reflux gets it going.  While fixing reflux will improve the situation, asthma does not go away.  It can, instead, be kept under control.  Those people with mild, undiagnosed asthma will always have "asthma", but it may never have symptoms, as long as the reflux is controlled or eliminated.
 
Here is a rather technical article about non-asthma reflux lung issues.  If you're willing to slog through some medical terminology, I think it may answer many of your questions:
Good luck,
Denise
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 6/11/2013 11:05:20 AM (GMT-6)


DontStealMyBacon
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 186
   Posted 6/11/2013 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I see that you mentioned you have not had asthma in the past. It is a possibility that you may have developed asthma recently, but I suspect that it would be GERD and/or LPR directly affecting your breathing and not pairing with asthma. I have severe breathing problems, and when I do any sort of exercise I lose my breath in a matter of seconds because acid spikes up my throat and chokes and burns me.

Recently I have changed this theory slightly, that since acid comes in small quantities it probably is not choking me. When you have heartburn symptoms for long enough, you start getting post nasal drip more often, along with an excess production of saliva, as the body attempts to neutralize the acid. What I have been thinking lately is that since acid enters the esophagus in such small quantities (speaking in terms of molar concentration), the liquid that is choking me is saliva and post nasal drip. I am sorry all I have is a theory, but I stand by it because I have proven time and time again that exercise triggers heartburn for me.

You might experience exercise induced reflux like me, or you might be experiencing asthma, or something else completely. I just thought I would share my experience in case this is what you are feeling. I also wanted to share it because every doctor I've seen about my breathing problem has said it must be asthma, and I have had a pulmonologist prove that I do not have asthma, but again that's my experience. Getting tested for asthma is a good idea.
Right Temporal Lobectomy 4/5/12

Diagnosed with GERD, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and Epilepsy.
Studying biomedical engineering to research a better fix to at least one of them.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/11/2013 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
DontStealMyBacon,
I do have asthma and did have reflux/asthma issues before my Nissen.  My asthma/allergy doctor said that few GI docs understand how a very tiny amount of reflux can cause serious lung problems.  Acid, or even acid fumes can be aspirated into the lungs and cause inflammation, which in turn causes coughing and even decreased airway circumference. 
 
Some people with bad reflux can actually do permanent damage to their lungs.  Reflux can cause COPD, and I am aware of people who have lost lung function because of reflux.  It is not something to ignore.
 
Here are some links to information regarding the serious lung issues that can result from reflux:
 
 
 
Good luck with your lung issues!
Best wishes,
Denise
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 6/11/2013 11:02:03 AM (GMT-6)


cairnlover
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 6/11/2013 11:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for those links, they are very interesting. Might print them off and take to GP next time I see him!
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