Any kind of health condition that you continue to ignore, hoping that it will magically disappear, without actually taking any positive changes to fix it is a recipe for disaster. With more than 60 million Americans suffering from acid reflux each month, you could only guess that in a conversation between two friends that both experience reflux, it would be treated as normal and maybe even laughed off.
With shortness of breath being a more frightening symptom of acid reflux, it’s important to take care of your health before it reaches this chronic stage and spreads beyond your digestive system.
When Stomach Acid Gets Bored Of Your Esophagus?
The painful symptoms of acid reflux, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) dysfunctions. The LES is a valve which sits at the base of your esophagus right above your stomach. Its job is to open and close when swallowing food. When it dysfunctions and opens sporadically, painful stomach acid spreads to the esophagus. The most chronic condition of acid reflux is called GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
When you don’t take the time to figure out why reflux is occurring in the first place, symptoms can worsen and lead to dyspnea. This is where you have trouble breathing as excessive gaseous mist travels into your respiratory tract. In studies, it is estimated that up to 80% of patients suffering from GERD also suffer from asthma.
How is shortness of breath and acid reflux linked?
When you suffer from acid reflux, there’s a lot of pressure placed on your body and in particular your respiratory system. If you think about it, your muscles are working overtime to try clear the stomach acid from your esophagus.
In the more extreme cases of dyspnea, your body is working even harder just to obtain enough oxygen for proper function. Other than shortness of breath, you may also experience wheezing, coughing and a feeling of anxiety. Often you may wake in the night with these symptoms. Many respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis have existing GERD symptoms.
Depending how severe your symptoms are, there are some home treatments worth trying to find some relief in preventing acid reflux and in turn shortness of breath:
- Sleeping on an elevated pad – This is termed as head of bed elevation which has been shown to be an effective remedy in reducing acid reflux symptoms. This is due to preventing stomach acid from traveling into the esophagus because of the higher resting position of your head.
- Losing excess weight -There is a strong link between obesity and acid reflux or heartburn symptoms. This is due to the pressure placed on your body including the abdominal region. Even a weight gain of 10-15 pounds in a study of healthy women, has been shown to increase heartburn and reflux symptoms by 40%.