GERD and Breathing Problems

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kman543210
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   Posted 11/8/2007 7:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Has anyone experienced difficulty breathing due to GERD?  Also, has anyone else had damage done to their nasal passage due to GERD?

TammyGrl0528
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   Posted 11/8/2007 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there kman...

To answer your question, I have never had breathing problems due to GERD. I did though do some research, and here is what I found...

The vocal cords cover the opening to the breathing tube. When swallowing, the vocal cords close to keep food and water out of the lungs. When breathing, the vocal cords open to let air in and out of the lungs. If the vocal cords are damaged by acid, they do not open and close at the right time. Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is the medical term for vocal cords that do no work properly. VCD can cause breathing problems like shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. If you already have breathing problems, like asthma, it can make your breathing worse.



As for the nasal passages...


The throat communicates with the nasal passages. In small children, two patches of lymph tissue, called the adenoids, are located where the upper part of the throat joins the nasal passages. The passages from the sinuses and the tubes from the middle ears (Eustachian tubes) open into the rear of the nasal passages near the adenoids. Refluxed liquid that enters the upper throat can inflame the adenoids and cause them to swell. The swollen adenoids then can block the passages from the sinuses and the Eustachian tubes. When the sinuses and middle ears are closed off from the nasal passages by the swelling of the adenoids, fluid accumulates within them. This accumulation of fluid can lead to discomfort in the sinuses and ears. Since the adenoids are prominent in young children, and not in adults, this fluid accumulation in the sinuses and ears is seen in children and not adults.


I cannot give your 1st hand information, as I have not dealt with any of the above, but I wanted you to see that it is something that may come along with GERD in the event you are experiencing this...you are not alone.

Maybe some others will come along with their experiences.

Wishing you all the best!
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stimi
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Date Joined Nov 2007
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   Posted 11/14/2007 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi! My name is Lisa and I am new to this website. 

I about fell out of my chair when I read this forum topic.  I have been experiencing shortness of breath for 4 years now.  I have been diagnosed with everything under the sun but nothing was correct.  I would go to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack because my chest would be heavy and I would have trouble breathing.  I was always sent home with 100% oxygen saturation levels and a barium swallow to lessen the esophageal spasms I thought were heart palpitations. 

Since March of this year it has become so bad my quality of life has greatly diminished.  I can not exercise, do strenuous activities, talk for long periods of time or enjoy life in general.  I have been to the ER 3 times in 4 months.

Finally after an endoscopy, a pH Bravo test & many a visit with the GI we discovered I am refluxing all the way up into my bronchi and vocal chords.  This does cause shortness of breath.  To talk feels heavy so I do not do it often.  I get a very deep voice but I do not lose my voice.  However I have had bronchitis many times this past year.  All this is due to the reflux.

On November 30th I will have the Nissen Fundoplication procedure and I am very scared.  However if I do not do it my problems will keep getting worse.  The sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach is not working properly and is too weak.  Therefore it is allowing all my stomach content to creep up and do continuous damage.  I also have a hiatal hernia.  All of this will be corrected.

I am only 29 years old and often wonder why it is like this for me.  I was told you are born with these factors and over time they can weaken. 

Just to make sure I went to a Pulmonoligist and a Cardiologist and was given a clean bill of health.  I do not have asthma so the reflux is really the only thing that makes sense.  And you can reflux more than acid.  People often reflux bile or other stomach content as well.

I also have a burning sensation in my nose a lot.  I sometimes can feel it going all the way to my eyes and they will water all day long.  I was told you can reflux that high.

Good luck!

Lisa


kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/14/2007 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the feedback, Lisa. I too have been to the ER 4 times in the last year, once for sudden swallowing and thrice for breathing problems (I was hospitalized a week ago). The problem for me is that I have so many things going on that it's difficult to tell what is causing what. I have motor nerve involvement, possibly caused by Lyme Disease, allergy to the antiobiotics which caused major burning in my nose, and even the doctors can't figure me out. My acid reflux started a year ago suddenly a month after my swallowing difficulties started. Hopefully they'll be able to tell how much damage, if any, has been done to my esophagus when they do the endoscopy next week. I do have reduced pulmonary function too, probably weakened diaphragm. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

porcelain doll
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Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 11/14/2007 6:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, Gerd can cause pulmonary problems.  I would say that in the months Mar/April my gerd was over the roof and I had experienced gerd induced asthma which is something I never had before.  I have never even smoked in my life but my gerd induced asthma was pretty bad.  I was on methylprednisone, advair, singular and on double doses of PPI's and nothing would work.  I even had the pulmonary function study test which came back normal but the Dr. said it was gerd induced asthma.  I had it so bad that it really affected my life and couldn't even work (teach).  It got so bad that I would even have a panic attack (something I never had before) because I literally felt as if my lung would want to collapse and I'd have to use the rescue inhaler and I was popping xanax like it was candy just to calm me down as it was so scary.  I have to say this gerd really turned my life upside down.  I think the Nissen repair will be your answer as sometimes some of us don't have a choice and surgery is the only way to get rid of this nasty gerd disease.  Good luck...Barbara... 

heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/14/2007 11:41 PM (GMT -7)   
This is an interesting topic for me. I was diagnosed with GERD in 1999 when I had my first Endoscopy done. After trying several of the "bottom" drugs for this disease I ended up taking Prilsec when it first came out for Rx only. At that time it was about $4 a pill...thank goodness for insurance. Ever since it has been available OTC I have been buying it that way. So all in all I have been on Prilosec daily for 7+ years. I was diagnosed with hiatus hernia, peptic ulcers, ulcers in my esophagus and HP bacteria. After recent developments in my health (breathing issues being one of them) I have seen a team of specialists with the GI being the last. My symptoms were autoimmune lupus like symptoms. Now it appears they are somehow tied to my GERD. I do feel my breathing difficulties and sinus issues are related specifically to this disease. I also have signs of infection with a fluctuating ANA screen. Being that is has been 8 years since I last saw a GI specialist I am hoping that a more severe problem has not set in. I will post more of my recent symptoms in a more specific topic but I wanted to chime in on the breathing and sinus issue. Have any of you ever aspirated in your sleep? That was one of the worst experiences of my life concerning GERD issues. Good luck to everyone dealing with this annoying disease.

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/15/2007 12:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I personally never aspirated that I know of and do not have a cough. My breathing issues are not related to my lungs and are not asthma-like at all. Besides my reduced pulmonary function, probably due to weakened diaphragm from neuro-muscular disease, I cannot feel myself breathing. I know that this sounds weird, but I have to put my finger in front of my nose to make sure that I'm breathing. This is a constant thing now and is extremely debilitating. That's why I'm wondering if it could be related to the GERD.

heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
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   Posted 11/15/2007 1:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been diagnosed with GERD since 1999. For the most part it has been something I have been able to control as long as I took my magic pill(s) everyday. This year something different occured. I Aspirated while sleeping twice within two months. Landing me in the ER each time. I am not sure why this happened but ever since I have had breathing issues similar to Asthma. As far as your breathing difficulties, how do you feel when you wake up? Or at night prior to bed? I mention this because GERD is thought by many doctors to influence pulmonary function through microaspiration of gastric contents. This is what I am almost sure I am having happen to me. I too, also suffer from a weakened diaphragm as do others who are diagnosed with hiatal hernia. You did not mention this but do you have a hiatal hernia? I would imagine you do. I am not sure about you not being able to feel yourself breath? This is something I have not heard of. Is there a name for the condition? What does your doctor say about that? I have never heard of this in my 8 years of living with GERD but I would like to know more about it.

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/15/2007 2:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Earlier this year, my breathing felt better in the morning, but now it's pretty much the same. As soon as I get up in the morning, it actually feels like my insides are trying to come out in my abdomen; it's the weirdest feeling. My doctors seem to refuse to acknowledge my breathing issues even though my FVC was 73% and then dropped to 58% when I was admitted to the hospital a week and a half ago due to my breathing.

As far as the not feeling myself breathing, they don't know what could cause that. The only thing that I have read that sounds like it is something called Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS) where people who have nose surgery have too much of their turbinates removed. I had a burning nose for several months, and so that's the reason that I wondered if the acid or allergy could've damaged my nasal passages so that I can't feel air pressure anymore. I'm not sure if I have a hiatal hernia, but hopefully the endoscopy will tell that too?

TammyGrl0528
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1345
   Posted 11/15/2007 7:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Kman...Yes, an endoscopy can detect a hiatal hernia. You could also find that out with a barium swallow.

Best wishes to you hun!
 GERD Forum Moderator
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 Diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Attacks.
 Clickable Link that may be of interest to some...as I find I often like to check drug interactions...Drug Interactions
 
~Tammy~


heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/15/2007 10:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Just curious, did they do any blood work that you have copies of? I would like to know a couple of things about the lab work they did. I would also imagine that if this was GERD related then your breathing would be significantly worse in the morning after laying flat all night. This would be true if you were aspirating small amounts of acid in your sleep. Since this seems to be a constant issue thoughout the day then to me it seems there may be something else going on. I would be curious to know the results of your endo if you would not mind posting them? Anytime anything comes up from your stomach, even in consistant small amounts you run the risk of complications such as infections or other chest/lung related issues. It will all start with the endo however. Maybe ask your doctor if you would benefit from taking Reglan at night prior to going to bed. Good luck to ya...

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/16/2007 6:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll definitely let you know the results of the endoscopy. The ENT I saw last week wants to do a 24-hour PH test, so I'll have to get that set up. As for blood work, I've been sick for over 3 years now, so I've had a lot of blood work done. What specific blood tests were you referring to?

heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/16/2007 8:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Since nobody has been able to make a connection to a specific condition as far as your breathing issues are concerned I would assume that most of your blood work came back normal. I guess I am curious as to what did not come back within normal levels on a consistant basis? CO2 levels, sed rate or ANA tests? Anything outside of normal levels? Any signs of inflammation with blood work? When you say sick do you mean specifically your breathing issue or are there other symptoms as well?

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/16/2007 10:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Started 3 years ago with sudden light-headedness/wooziness and loss of appetite. That out-of-it/stoned feeling never went away. January 2006 sudden muscle weakness in right then left leg. Weakness in arms started later that summer. September 2006 swallowing problems (by this time I was walking w/ a cane), a couple months later burning in chest, but famotidine seemed to help this. February of this year is when breathing problems started and have just gotten worse since then.  Over the 3 years, I dropped 25 lbs, but gained about 10 of that back in the last couple months (extremely tall and thin).

No one has been able to 100% diagnose me, and the above is a very simplified version of my story, but I have been living w/ my parents and haven't driven for over a year. My blood work has all come back okay. My EMG shows peripheral neuropathy in legs and arms, barium swallow confirmed that my swallowing muslces not working, and pulmonary function study showed 73% FVC down to 58% when I was hospitalized a few weeks back. Lyme Disease is still being considered since I was bitten by something 5 days before this happened, CD-57 is 20 (should be 200), and Western Blot had 3 + and 3 IND bands, but not officially positive. I saw a rheumotologist well over a year ago, and everything was normal back then.

heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/17/2007 1:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Have you ever discussed MS with your doctor? Specifically Becker's muscular dystrophy? Also, was an ANA screen done and if so were the results pos or neg? Unfortunately, the symptoms you describe could be any number of diseases. What have they specifically ruled out at this point?

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/17/2007 6:10 AM (GMT -7)   
MS has been ruled out from clean MRI, clean spinal tap, and my abnormal EMG indicate motor nerve involvement, not sensory nerves. My muscle biopsy was normal as well when that was done a while ago. I don't know what an ANA screening is, but I'm pretty sure that they did that since I've seen so many neuros, including the Mayo Clinic. They have ruled out most everything, it just doesn't seem to fit anything really. The GERD was probably caused by the weakening of my muscles though.

heybatr
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/17/2007 6:44 AM (GMT -7)   
You did mention Lyme but I am sure they would have tested you for antibodies specific to that disease. Have they ordered any blood work for this particular antibody? My understanding it is relatively easy to test for. The ANA test is ordered to help screen for autoimmune disorders and is most often used as one of the tests to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Depending on the patient’s symptoms and the suspected diagnosis, ANA may be ordered along with one or more other autoantibody tests. Other laboratory tests associated with presence of inflammation, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP) may also be ordered. ANA may be followed by additional tests that are considered subsets of the general ANA test and that are used in conjunction with the patient’s clinical history to help rule out a diagnosis of other autoimmune disorders.

The ANA test is ordered when a patient shows signs and symptoms that are associated with SLE or another autoimmune disorder. It may also be ordered when a patient has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and the doctor suspects that the patient may have developed an additional autoimmune disorder. Patients with autoimmune disorders can have a wide variety of symptoms such as low-grade fever, joint pain, fatigue, and/or unexplained rashes that may change over time. Aside from rare cases, further autoantibody (subset) testing is not necessary if a patient has a negative ANA result.

Hope this helps with understanding the relationship with ANA and autoimmune related diseases. From the description it does sound like your GERD symptoms are a secondary symptom to an underlying condition.

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/17/2007 5:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the clarification. I'm pretty sure that the rheumatologist did all these tests when I saw him in February of 2006. If not, the neurologist would have done those as well. As for Lyme Disease, it's not as simple as the ELISA antibody test. I have known several people with the EM rash, which is proof positive of Lyme, that tested negative on the ELISA, then got better with antibiotic treatment. I had several positive bands on the Western Blot test, so that's why I say it's still being considered.

I'm not 100% sure, but I strongly suspect that my GERD is in fact a secondary condition related to my other symptoms, but with so many symptoms going on at once, it's difficult to tell what is causing what.

heybatr
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 11/18/2007 8:50 AM (GMT -7)   
From speaking to people and reading many forums by people in the same situation as yourself it is easy to see the toll this can take not only physically but mentally as well. Heck they even have a show now based on people just in your situation with a mystery illness. Any type of chronic condition that lowers our quality of life in measurable amounts has the potential of turning into depression. While as important as it is to seek answers to your condition it is also just as important to maintain the most positive mental state as possible. I suppose the most visible sign of this would be giving up and giving in to the idea you'll never know what is going wrong inside your body. It only takes one doctor to piece together the symptoms to form the correct diagnosis. Your job is to not give up and find that doctor. If you find you are struggling with keeping a positive outlook then maybe speak to a therapist who can keep you focused and help you sort out any negative feelings you may have so that you can stay on track. Do you keep copies of all of your medical records? I find it almost unthinkable to not ask for copies of any labs, MRI's or X-Rays that may be done. It is much easier when I see a new doctor to have previous test results.

You said you were bitten by something a few days prior to feeling ill? First, what part of the country do you live in? Second, where were you bitten and under what circumstances? And lastly, did you develope a rash of any sort on or near the area you noticed the bite?

You are right with the diagnosis of Lyme not being easy. Especially if it is not detected early on. There are a few test I read about that are being used in detection. Have they done either SPECT or PET on your brain to determine normal functionality? Also I read that Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for Lyme disease have also been developed to detect the genetic material (DNA) of the Lyme disease spirochete. PCR tests are rarely susceptible to false-positive results but can often show false-negative results. As far as other blood work was it collected from your arm or through your lumbar? You can have them check your cerebral spinal fluid with the same tests.

In later stages of Lyme, the bacteria disseminate throughout the body and may cross the blood-brain barrier, making the infection more difficult to treat. Late diagnosed Lyme is treated with oral or IV antibiotics, frequently ceftriaxone, 2 grams per day, for a minimum of four weeks. Minocycline is also indicated for neuroborreliosis for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Not sure what side effects this would cause or if a doctor would advise this without an official diagnosis but it may be worth a shot.

kman543210
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 11/22/2007 4:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, I had my endoscopy today, and it doesn't look like it will explain my breathing problems and not even all the pain and tightness that I have in my chest. Because of my low FVC and neuro-muscular involvement with breathing, the clinic I went to aborted the procedure because they didn't want to put me under. They sent me to the hospital to get it done, so my dad drove me there. The doctor at the hospital didn't really want to put me under either, so I went ahead and had the endoscopy done with no drugs, just a little numbing in the back of throat.

The procedure was pretty quick and wasn't that bad. Of course is wasn't comfortable at all, but I've had worse. I have to make an office visit with him, but he said there is no sign of ulcers or cancer but that I do have a hiatal hernia. I'll know how serious the hernia is, or is not, after I see him in the office.
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