Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hiatal Hernia
Many people with a hiatal hernia never have symptoms. Some people with hiatal hernia have some of the same symptoms as gastroesophageal reflex disease . GERD occurs when digestive juices move from the stomach back into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include:
- Bitter or sour taste in the back of the throat.
- Bloating and belching.
- Discomfort or pain in the stomach or esophagus.
Although there appears to be a link between hiatal hernia and GERD, one condition does not seem to cause the other. Many people have a hiatal hernia without having GERD, and others have GERD without having a hiatal hernia.
Another symptom of a hiatal hernia is chest pain. Since chest pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, its important to contact your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room if you experience any chest pain.
Are There Any Complications From Oesophagitis
- Scarring and narrowing . If you have severe and long-standing inflammation it can cause a stricture of the lower gullet . This is uncommon.
- Barrett’s oesophagus. In this condition the cells that line the lower oesophagus become changed. The changed cells are more prone than usual to becoming cancerous.
- Cancer. Your risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus is slightly increased compared to the normal risk if you have long-term acid reflux.
It has to be stressed that most people with reflux do not develop any of these complications. Tell your doctor if you have pain or difficulty when you swallow, which may be the first symptom of a complication.
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How Do You Get Acid Reflux
At the bottom of the esophagus is a flap which ensures there is normally no stomach acid moving into the esophagus. Too much acid or the sphincter not working properly can cause stomach acid flowing into the esophagus. This is called acid reflux.
If there are persistent acid reflux is called reflux disease . The esophagus can be damaged by prolonged exposure to stomach acid and burn. This is called reflux esophagitis.
That Burning Feeling: What Is Heartburn
After you swallow food, it makes its way down the esophagus and into the stomach, where a ring of muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter , closes to keep the food in. But sometimes the LES is weak or doesnt properly close, allowing stomach acid to backup, which irritates the lining of the esophagus. Thats acid reflux, or heartburn.
The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. Symptoms include:
- A burning sensation in the center of your chest that lasts from several minutes to an hour or two
- A feeling of chest pressure or pain that is worse if you bend over or lie down
- A sour, bitter, or acidic taste in the back of your throat
- A feeling that food is stuck in your throat or the middle of your chest
You can generally avoid occasional bouts of heartburn with some lifestyle modifications. Your doctor will likely suggest you try to treat heartburn by making the following lifestyle changes before medication comes into play.
- Avoid foods that trigger reflux for you. Spicy, acidic, and fried or fatty foods are more likely to trigger reflux. So can caffeine and alcohol.
- Stay upright after eating a big meal to allow for optimal digestion. Its best to not eat in the hours leading up to bedtime, says Dr. Hagan.
- If youre overweight or obese, losing some weight can help.
- If you smoke, do your best to quit.
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Gut Bacteria And Heartburn
Your intestinal bacteria should be concentrated in the lower colon with very few bacteria in the upper small intestine where most nutrients are digested and absorbed. For every 1 bacteria in the upper small intestine there is 100 million bacteria in the lower colon!
Unfortunately, some of these colon bacteria will find their way up into the upper small intestine and can trigger heartburn. This form of heartburn is often triggered by a particular type of food. Common examples are spicy food, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers and certain fruit or nuts. Some estimates are that SIBO may affect 50-75% of the U.S. population.
If someone has abnormal bacteria in the upper intestine that are activated by nutrients found in spices, the active bacteria are capable of sending a signal up the vagus nerve and tell the brain to slow down the intestinal track and not to empty the stomach. This happens with any kind of nutrient the bacteria are activated by.
If the stomach isnt emptying while you are eating, the food contents and accompanying digestive enzymes and acids overfill. This will make you very bloated and cause the reflux of the overfilled stomach contents into the esophagus giving you heartburn. The slowing of the intestinal tract is also responsible for your intestinal cramping, constipation and if the overgrowth is bad enough, you developed diarrhea with particular foods.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis
- Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
- Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
- A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
- Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
- Severe chest pain develops in some cases .
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How Can My Doctor Tell If I Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
A medical doctor can often diagnose GERD and heartburn by your description of the symptoms your experience.
You may see a gastroenterologist, a medical specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, who may order an upper GI series. This is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the intestine often used to rule out other health conditions. An upper GI endoscopy, where a flexible probe with a tiny camera at the end is passed down your throat to see the esophagus. This helps diagnose how severe your acid reflux is, and can also rule out other health complications.
If your symptoms are not clearly from acid reflux, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out important conditions like heart attack, ulcers, lung problems, esophagus problems, and gastritis.
Diagnosis And Tests For Acid Reflux
Doctors typically start by asking questions about your medical history and how long youve been experiencing symptoms of acid reflux. They usually move on to performing a physical exam. Your physician may also recommend other tests to determine whether you have GERD or another kind of acid reflux, like:
- Endoscopy A thin, flexible tube gets inserted down your throat. The end contains a light and a camera, which allows a doctor to view the inside of the stomach and esophagus.
- Ambulatory acid probe test Your doctor places a monitor into your esophagus to observe when your stomach acid regurgitates, and for how long. The monitor feeds information to a small computer worn around your waist or held up by your shoulder with a strap. It typically passes out of your body through stool after a few days.
- Digestive system x-ray After drinking a special liquid that coats your digestive tract, your doctor takes x-rays that lets doctors see the outline of your stomach, esophagus, and lower intestine. Your physician may also ask you to take a barium pill that helps diagnose whether you have an esophageal stricture.
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When Should I Call A Doctor For Indigestion
Indigestion symptoms are signs of other medical conditions or problems.
If indigestion symptoms are mild or resolve in a short time, talk to your doctor about how to treat it.
If you have any of the following symptoms of severe indigestion, if your symptoms last more than a few days, or if they worsen noticeably, seek medical care immediately:
- Vomiting or blood in vomit
- Loss of appetite
- Black, tarry stools or visible blood in stools
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen
- Sudden, severe pain in the abdomen, particularly on the right side
- Yellow coloring of the skin and eyes
- Discomfort unrelated to eating
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting due to symptoms
Heart attacks may cause symptoms often are mistaken for indigestion. If indigestion is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, or pain radiating to the jaw, back, neck or arm, seek medical attention immediately.
How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
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How Is Esophageal Cancer Treated
The approach to treatment depends on the stage and grade of the cancer. Treatment options that may be used for esophageal cancer include:
People with esophageal cancer may participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials are research programs conducted with patients to evaluate new medical treatments, drugs or devices. New uses for chemotherapy and radiation therapy are being tested in clinical trials.
Acid Reflux At Night Home Remedies
Even if you follow all of the above preventative measures, you may still suffer from reflux from time to time. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve it once it starts. If youre looking for acid reflux immediate relief, you might have some luck with the following remedies. These are all easy things you can try at home without visiting a doctor.
Over-the-counter antacids often help quite well with acid reflux. These alkaline medicines neutralize stomach acid, ridding you of the burning feeling. They come in the form of chewable tablets and liquids. Some favorite brands include Alka-Seltzer, Rolaids, and Tums. If you dont have any antacids on hand, you can try baking soda instead. Dissolve a teaspoon into a cup of water.
Ginger is a traditional stomach settler that has been around for centuries. Ginger comes in many forms, but for a simple tea, soak the fresh ginger root in hot water. Avoid ginger ale, though, as the carbonation may make reflux worse.
According to research by Harvard University, licorice helps to lubricate and coat the esophageal lining. This helps acts as a barrier to stomach acid, reducing the burning feeling. You can buy pills containing licorice extract, licorice teas, and licorice candy.
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Can Acid Reflux Cause Chest Pain
Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. Chest pain related to reflux is also called noncardiac chest pain . Chest pain occurs during reflux episodes because the heart and the esophagus share a nerve network. Acid reflux, specifically GERD, causes up to 66% of reported NCCPs.
Evaluating Your Chest Pain
Since chest pain from acid reflux and more serious conditions such as heart attack are hard to distinguish, its important to know how to evaluate your chest pain. Chest pain from acid reflux often affects the sternum or the area below it called the epigastrium. Pain from acid reflux is often characterized as a sharp pain, which gets worse with coughing.
Meanwhile, chest pain from non-acid reflux sources could be described as a deep, searing pain. Heart-related chest pain often radiates to other parts of the body including the back, neck, shoulders, and arms.
The symptoms that accompany chest pain are also key in evaluating the nature of the pain. Gastro-related chest pain is often accompanied by burping or flatulence, trouble swallowing, bile regurgitation, and a burning sensation in the throat or stomach.
Cardiac-related chest pain is often accompanied by numbness in the left arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, dizziness, and high body temperatures.
What Are The Risk Factors For Acid Reflux
The following characteristics are associated with an increased likelihood of developing acid reflux. By themselves, none are guarantees that you will develop the condition.
However, if more than a few of them apply to you, you should consider yourself more susceptible than the average person. If you notice youre already experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, consider how the following lifestyle habits might be contributing to them.
- Eating a diet high in fatty or acidic foods, or consuming beverages including coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda
- Lying down immediately after eating, or snacking close to bedtime
To learn more about risk factors associated with acid reflux, go here.
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What Causes A Hiatal Hernia
The most common cause of a hiatal hernia is an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity. Your abdominal cavity is the space in the middle of your body that holds several organs, including the:
- Lower part of the esophagus and stomach.
- Small intestine, colon and rectum.
This pressure can build up from things like:
- Straining during a bowel movement.
- Heavy lifting.
- Physical strain.
There are also other reasons a hiatal hernia could develop. You may experience a hiatal hernia during pregnancy, if you are obese, or if theres extra fluid in your abdomen.
Increased pressure in the abdomen causes part of the stomach to push through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like
Heartburn typically feels like a burning in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also feel symptoms like:
- A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
- Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down.
- A burning feeling in your throat.
- A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Indigestion
You might first see your primary care doctor who will diagnose your indigestion. You may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
If you have a problem that requires surgery such as a severe ulcer or gallstones you may be referred to a general surgeon.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.
Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Factors that can lead to this include:
- Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
- Particular types of food and eating habits.
- Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
- A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.
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Can Esophageal Cancer Be Prevented
Although esophageal cancer cannot be prevented, controlling the risk factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, may help reduce the risk of developing the disease.
A study has indicated that people with Barretts esophagus who are treated with radiofrequency ablation are less likely to develop esophageal cancer.
How Many Carbohydrates Should We Eat
To answer this question we need to look at the evolution of our Stone Age ancestors and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed. Scientific evidence suggests that our primitive ancestors ate a diet that consisted predominantly of animal tissue and plants known as browsing foliage .
During the Stone Age, carbohydrates were very uncommon in the wild and consisted of occasional roots, wild fruit or honey. Overall, the availability of carbohydrates was uncommon. Other than being on a tropical island, when was the last time you saw some fruit such as an apple or orange when walking in the woods? These foods do not grow commonly in the wild. They are cultivated plants that became more readily available after the agricultural revolution.
Many Americans consume more carbohydrates per day than our Stone Age ancestors consumed in a year. The amounts of carbohydrates available for human consumption didnt begin to increase until the agricultural revolution when man learned to grow grains such as wheat, barley and millet. The domestication of livestock and the consumption of livestock milk became an additional source of carbohydrates as well.
The point of this is to help you understand that we were designed through evolution to adapt to eating predominantly animal tissue and low amounts of carbohydrates. We did not develop the metabolic ability to handle such large quantities of carbohydrates in our diet and our bodies are suffering because of it.
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