Some Studies indicate that a connection exists between asthma and acid reflux. People who suffer from asthma get acid reflux more often than people without asthma. Before looking at the asthma-reflux connection, it will be pertinent to take a look at the nature of the two diseases.
Asthma is a chronic health condition in which the airways become inflamed and sensitive, and react to certain stimuli (agents or triggers). These triggers include animal dander, pollen, cigarette smoke, cold air, certain smells, and even strong emotions. The lining of the airways swells and produces extra quantity of mucus. Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or rapid breathing are the symptoms experienced by the asthmatics. In severe cases, patients can’t breathe and may die if prompt treatment is not provided.
In acid reflux, stomach acids flow backward into the esophagus due to the relaxation or looseness of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Acid reflux is characterized by the most common symptom of heartburn i.e. a burning sensation in the chest or throat. Other symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, cramping, sore throat, hoarseness and so on. Drug treatment works in most cases of acid reflux but surgery might be required in severe cases.
Asthma And Acid Reflux Connection
The findings that acid reflux is experienced in as many as 70 % of patients with asthma is thought evoking. The exact cause of this co-occurrence is not clear but several theories have been formulated to explain this connection between asthma and acid reflux.
The most plausible view of explaining the connection is that significant pressure changes occur in the chest during breathing in asthmatic people. These high pressures could force the stomach liquid to travel up the esophagus, resulting in reflux symptoms. The effect of reflux on asthma is that the regurgitating acid may irritate the lungs and further aggravate asthma, which indeed has been observed in patients of asthma.
There have been studies in which acid was injected in the esophagus of people with asthma. The result was a significant impact on their asthma and an increase in their asthma symptoms. This appears to imply that acid reflux is an important cause of asthma worsening. But research evidence does not support this inference. Given this causal connection between asthma and acid reflux, treatments against acid reflux should make the asthma better, which is generally not the case.
Careful treatment of reflux might make the breathing better but not necessarily. It is best to seek a doctor who uses natural methods to treat acid reflux. This is because taking drugs for both asthma and acid reflux at the same time may cause additional health problems in future.