How can GERD affect ASTHMA?
In the chest pressure changes happen during breathing. The high pressures may cause the stomach to move up the esophagus and resulting in reflux symptoms. Refluxed acid from the stomach can be aspirated into the airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing the patient to cough.
Acid reflux can cause asthma symptoms in two ways. First it can cause people to breathe little droplets of acid into their lungs without them knowing it. The acid can aggravate the fragile pulmonary lining and cause spasms in the bronchi and airways, which can result in an asthma attack. Second, recurring episodes of acid reflux can cause digestive acid to melt away the esophageal lining and expose some parts of significant nerves that are connected to the lungs. The irritation of the nerve endings that are connected to the lungs. The irritation of the nerve endings have also been observed to set off the constriction of airways, which could then result in an asthma attack.
Studies have been shown that asthma attacks can be connected with acid reflux if their asthma began after reaching adulthood. Acid reflux is also suspected if asthma symptoms become more evident after eating, at night, or after laying down for awhile. It can also be evident if the typical asthma treatments do not work.
What to do if you have GERD and ASTHMA?
There are many things you can do if you have GERD and ASTHMA. You first need to work with you physician and discuss the treatment options available, which will suit your needs the best. It is important to take your medication your doctor prescribes consistently. This also applies to both those prescribed for asthma and GERD. It is important to control your exposure to asthma and heartburn/acid reflux triggers are, and how best you can avoid them.
The next step is to take a few preventable steps to control the GERD symptoms. Here is a list of helpful hints which decrease your chances of having GERD episodes.
1. Sleep with your head and shoulder on an incline.
Lying down flat presses the stomach’s contents against the LES. With the head higher than your shoulders helps reduce this pressure, and keeps stomach contents where they belong. You can elevate your head in a couple of ways. You can place bricks, blocks, or anything that is sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow to elevate your head.
2.Sleep on your left side
Studies have shown that the position aids in digestion and helps with the removal of stomach acid. Sleeping on the right side has been shown to worsen heartburn.
3. Eat at least two to three hours before lying down
If you take naps, try sleeping in a chair. Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the LES, increasing the chances of refluxed food.
4.Avoid foods that are known to lead to GERD
(See GERD Triggers Page for a list of foods)
They include foods that can trigger your GERD, either by increasing acid production and gastric pressure or by loosening the low sphincter muscle. Also avoid foods at dinnertime, you will increase your chances of having nighttime heartburn. If you aren’t sure what foods trigger your heartburn symptoms, try keeping a heartburn record for a week.
5.Eliminate late-night snacking
Have your last snack no later than two hours before bedtime.
Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, which can lead to stomach contents entering the esophagus, with heartburn as a result. Smoking also stimulates the production of stomach acid.