Double Trouble - Asthma and GERD
If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), you might think that it doesn't get much worse than that. However, roughly 75% of people with asthma also have frequent heartburn. The combination of asthma and acid reflux is a definite double dose of misery. So are the two linked? The answer to the million-dollar question is that although GERD and asthma do seem to be linked, no one knows exactly why.
It's possible that GERD actually makes asthma symptoms worse or it could be the other way around. Another thought is that some asthma medications may worsen GERD symptoms. Furthermore, in some cases when GERD has been treated, asthma problems also begin to improve.
If your asthma began when you were an adult or if symptoms seem to get worse after a meal, doctors tend to look at acid reflux being the cause of asthma. Also, if an asthma sufferer gets little or no relief from asthma treatment, that can also be a red flag for GERD-induced asthma.
What should you do if you have GERD and Asthma?
Clearly, it is no fun to suffer from both of these conditions at the same time. However, if you are one of the 75% of asthma patients that also has regular acid reflux problems, you can begin by incorporating some of the basic lifestyle changes that are normally recommended to help manage GERD. Sleeping on an incline and on your left side, eating at least two hours before bed time, avoiding foods that trigger acid reflux symptoms and no late-night snacking, alcohol or smoking.
The most important first step is to visit your doctor. He can help you determine whether or not your asthma medication is affecting your acid reflux. Treating acid reflux will be the same regardless of whether you have asthma or not. Your health practitioner will help you develop a comprehensive treatment and management plan. Taking appropriate medications and making the recommended lifestyle changes should improve your quality of life immensely.
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