Patients with asthma are twice as likely than the normal population to have GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux disease). Most patients who suffer from hard-to-treat asthma have acid reflux disease. The esophagus and trachea (wind pipe) are in close proximity. Acid that back flows into the esophagus can reach the trachea. When acid is inhaled from the trachea into the airways, the delicate lining of the bronchioles is irritated. Repeated injury to the airway lining leads to or exacerbates existing asthma.
Another explanation for GERD-induced asthma is that when acid enters the esophagus, a protective nerve reflex is triggered, causing the airways to narrow. Narrowed airways result in cough, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Irrespective of mechanism, if you suffer from asthma and GERD, controlling acid reflux is an important aspect of asthma treatment. This is especially true in certain cases of adult onset asthma. If you have never had asthma or allergy problems in the past, and you now suffer from cough, wheezing and shortness of breath especially after eating or lying down, you may have GERD. Acid reflux can cause asthma-related coughing and wheezing in the absence of heartburn. Before escalating your asthma therapy, get tested for GERD. Request a GERD expert evaluation. There are many treatment solutions for GERD that will effectively control acid reflux and consequently your asthma. You can start by modifying your lifestyle (see previous blogs) and adopting certain habits like raising the head of your bed by 40 degrees. At Houston Heartburn and Reflux Center, Dr. Darido offers a comprehensive and thorough evaluation for GERD. Depending on your GERD stage, we tailor our treatment strategy to give you the best possible results.