Are Asthma and Acid Reflux Linked? Find Out the Answer Here!
When we talk about asthma and acid reflux, you should note that it is a two-way street. If you have asthma, you are more likely to get heartburn. Heartburn can also instigate or exacerbate asthma symptoms if it occurs frequently.
Doctors are not sure why the two disorders are so tightly linked, but they know that stomach acid and airways are involved.
How Acid Reflux Affects Asthma
Heartburn occurs when the passage between your stomach and esophagus does not function properly. The esophagus is the tube that links the stomach to the throat. The defective hole allows stomach acid to enter the esophagus. Doctors refer to this sensation as “acid reflux.”
Because your esophagus lacks the same protective covering as your stomach, acid irritates it, resulting in a burning sensation in your chest. It’s natural for it to happen now and then, but persistent cases could be a sign of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Acid reflux can cause or aggravate asthma symptoms in two ways:
- Acid irritates the nerves in your esophagus. It sets a chain reaction in motion as a result of this. Your nerves instruct your brain to teach your airways to defend themselves against the acid. As a result of the narrowing of your airways to keep the acid out, asthma symptoms develop.
- Stomach acid directly enters your lungs. The acid irritates your airways, causing you to cough, wheeze, and experience chest tightness.
GERD can occur without the classic symptoms of heartburn. By asking you a few questions, your doctor can determine if “silent” GERD harms your asthma.
If your asthma symptoms begin when you’re an adult, GERD likely is to blame. Take note of the following symptoms:
- When you eat, exercise, or lie down, your asthma grows worse.
- Treatments for asthma don’t seem to be working for you.
- You frequently cough or have a raspy voice.
If your doctor is unsure whether you have GERD, they may do a series of tests, including:
- X-ray Endoscopy, do a swallow test
- Acid (pH) test on an ambulatory basis
- Impedance test of the esophagus
How Asthma Affects Acid Reflux
Because some asthma medications affect different muscles in your body, they may increase your risk of acid reflux. The strength that governs the aperture between your esophagus and stomach may be affected by prednisone and albuterol. The acid may flow into your esophagus as a result.
Other asthma medications affect the muscles that line the inside of your esophagus, preventing it from operating correctly.
What to Do If You Have Asthma and Acid Reflux
How can you stop the cycle of heartburn that aggravates asthma symptoms, and asthma medication aggravates acid reflux? Focusing on your acid heartburn and getting it under control is frequently the answer. As your acid reflux improves, your asthma symptoms will likely improve as well.
Your doctor can advise you on whether or not you require medication to treat your GERD symptoms. They may advise you to begin with over-the-counter medicines such as:
- H2 blockers: These help prevent your body from producing as much acid, antacids, which neutralize acid in your stomach
- Proton-pump inhibitors: These also reduce stomach acid production, but their effects are stronger and faster than H2 blockers, making them more appropriate for certain cases.
In some cases, you may need prescription medicine to alleviate GERD symptoms. In some situations, your doctor may recommend GERD surgery. You can also do things at home to help with GERD symptoms, such as:
- Sleep with your bedhead raised 6 to 8 inches to allow gravity to assist in keeping stomach acid in your stomach.
- Do not consume anything for 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
- Instead of three substantial meals, eat modest meals throughout the day.
- Lose any excess weight that is putting strain on your stomach.
- Avoid foods that are fatty or acidic.
- Take a spoon of mustard for acid reflux.
- Drink baking soda for acid reflux.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid wearing belts and loose clothing.
To assist in breaking the pattern, you can take extra precautions to avoid your asthma triggers while managing your GERD symptoms.
A Word From Reflux Away
If you are experiencing symptoms of asthma or acid reflux often, please see a doctor. Aside from the fact that one ailment might affect the other, each condition has its set of challenges.
Both of these illnesses are common, and there are many therapeutic options available to assist in relieving symptoms and prevent them from recurring. Consult your doctor if you’ve already been diagnosed with asthma or acid reflux but notice a change or worsening of symptoms. You may need to alter your medication or action plan.
If you want to learn more home remedies for heartburn or recognize when you need professional help, sign up and get the latest tips and updates from Reflux Away!