Are Acid Reflux and Shortness of Breath Related?
A significant number of people who suffer from acid reflux disease also claim to have shortness of breath. In spite of this, many people still question whether acid reflux and shortness of breath are related. Let us answer that question with a definitive yes. In actuality, shortness of breath is a byproduct of acid reflux in this particular instance. This article will explain this connection.
So what exactly causes shortness of breath? Basically, there are two ways that acid reflux can cause shortness of breath. In both cases, the airways become constricted or narrowed. In the first scenario, acid from the stomach will actually flow up through the esophagus (especially when you’re in the prone position) and will spread into tiny airways, causing them to constrict. As a result, a person will feel shortness of breath. The second instance also involves stomach acid and the esophagus. But this time, the acid stimulates nerve endings that are located in the lower part of the esophagus. As these nerve endings are stimulated, the smooth muscle of the esophagus contracts, causing the airway to constrict and the patient to feel shortness of breath.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to treating acid reflux and shortness of breath, but most experts agree on a logical progression. That is that first you should try non-medicinal solutions that attempt to stop acid reflux all together, or at least stem it, thus curing the root of the problem. Medicinal methods, and then surgery, can be used as increasingly drastic measures if the natural remedies don’t have the desired effect.
Continue reading for a summary of the natural and medical treatments for acid reflux and sign up for the free acid reflux newsletter at the end of the article.
Natural treatments include:
o Losing Weight – People who are overweight or obese should try to lose weight before moving on to other measures, as this can make a drastic difference in the severity of the condition.
o A Diet Low in Fat – It is important to eliminate or reduce fatty foods in the diet as these will exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
o Elevated Sleeping Position – When sleeping or lying down, it is a good idea to elevate your head. This will help prevent the flow of acid up and out of the stomach and can help to reduce hacking, coughing, and shortness of breath in the night.
o Eliminate Trigger Foods – It is also a good idea to avoid foods that are natural augmenters to acid reflux. Lists of these foods are readily available online. Some of the main culprits are foods high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and sodas.
o Limit Meals – Try eating smaller meals, and eating more frequently. Also, eat your meals slowly making sure you chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Chewing food releases enzymes in the mouth and starts the digestion process. Avoid “stuffing your face” or “inhaling your food” as eating in this manner can lead to indigestion and reflux symptoms.
In addition to these natural methods, there are some medicinal steps that can be taken. There are two main types of medicinal treatment – proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and H-2 blockers. PPI’s can help to effectively reduce the amount of acid present in your stomach. Surgery is another option, but shouldn’t be considered without the recommendation of a physician and usually is only offered after other traditional methods have failed.
In summary, acid reflux and shortness of breath are related. The best way to attempt to cure shortness of breath is to attack the root problem of acid reflux. A good place to begin is with the aforementioned treatment methods.