What Is Reflux Disease
Reflux is common, with up to 20% of the population experiencing regular symptoms. While for many these symptoms are controllable and relatively trivial, for others they can be debilitating. Over one and a half million people each year require long-term medication. Symptoms can differ between people.
It commonly causes persistent heartburn and regurgitation of fluid and food into the throat and mouth however, reflux can also manifest itself in various ways and changes from patient to patient. It is increasingly recognised that reflux causes less obvious ânon-intestinalâ symptoms.
It is important to be able to recognise the symptoms of reflux disease in order to be able to assess the severity of your condition and identify the best treatment for you. We know that the assessment and treatment of reflux is not simple nor straightforward. In fact, it can be complex and difficult which is why we work as a team of multi-disciplinary specialists, working together for the best outcome for you.
What Will Your Doctor Look For
Your doctor will ask if youve experienced any symptoms of aspiration, especially after eating. If there are no symptoms, they may do a modified barium swallow test, which looks at your esophagus.
Your doctor will ask you to swallow a liquid that shows up on the X-ray to help them determine whether you have any underlying swallowing disorders.
Can Hiatal Hernia Cause Shortness Of Breath
A hiatal hernia may often go unnoticed due to the fact that unless it is quite large, the symptoms that accompany this type of hernia are often non-existent or easily mistaken for another type of illness. The truth is that a hiatal hernia can cause shortness of breath and for anyone experiencing light-headedness, dizziness, or who find themselves gasping for air, a proper examination by a qualified health professional is a must.
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Gerd Shortness Of Breath
Studies show that stomach acid can inflame the windpipe, which affects breathing. However, esophageal acidity can also trigger the vagus nerve which tells the lungs to tighten , and this can cause GERD wheezing.
TIPThe vagus nerve is an essential part of the central nervous system that is responsible for automatic bodily functions, like breathing and digestion.
How Can Acid Reflux Cause Headache
Recent studies are an increasing number of linking GERD and headaches however some questions remain on why exactly this occurs. Headaches or migraines are related to some of gastrointestinal situations. These include:
- celiac disease
- Heliobacter pylori infection
Studies recommend that between 30 and 50 percent of people with continual headaches or migraines also have GERD. Researchers are nonetheless looking to pinpoint which comes first, and whether acid reflux and headache exist collectively, or if one cause the other.
Theories about why gastrointestinal issues and complications are connected encompass improved sensitivity to pain in the body, especially in the parasympathetic system. This is a part of the autonomic nervous device that senses and features without you thinking about it.
Autonomic nervous device malfunction has been connected to both GERD and migraines, and will make contributions to the improvement of both or both situations. Food allergy reactions, medications, or even serotonin tiers are also common threads between both headache and reflux, and will play a position in connection between the 2.
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Get Help For Your Acid Reflux Today
Acid reflux is incredibly bothersome & inconvenient. While diet & lifestyle changes may help, your best option to treat acid reflux is to speak with a doctor.
Schedule a virtual visit with one of EMD’s reputable doctors & get a personalized treatment plan that works.
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Acid Reflux In A Nutshell
Most people will experience the uncomfortable feeling of esophageal burning at least once in their life. In some cases, the wave of digestive juices can literally take your breath away. This very unpleasant, yet quite common problem is called acid reflux.
Many still think that heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid. However, much like the flat earth theory, this is a misconception. Heartburn happens when the acidic digestive juices of your stomach re-enter the esophagus .
If this happens several times per week, it might be a sign of GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease , a condition in which the esophagus becomes inflamed from stomach acid damage. Symptoms of GERD include:
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What Do I Do If I Think I Have Gerd
With GERD when reflux and heartburn happen more than once in a while the tissue lining your esophagus is getting battered regularly with stomach acid. Eventually the tissue becomes damaged. If you have this chronic acid reflux and heartburn you can see its affecting your daily eating and sleeping habits.
When GERD makes your daily life uncomfortable in this way, call your healthcare provider. Although GERD isnt life-threatening in itself, its chronic inflammation of the esophagus can lead to something more serious. You may need stronger prescription medications or even surgery to ease your symptoms.
When Do I Need To See The Doctor
If your acid reflux happens more than twice a week or the symptoms are severe, it is time to see a doctor. Equally, if you have tried medications together with lifestyle changes and they dont bring long-lasting relief, you need to consult a healthcare professional. Dont forget to tell your doctor about any medication you are taking because some drugs can cause GERD symptoms.
Because breathing problems and acid reflux can be symptoms of a number of conditions, your doctor may want to run a few tests to get a clear idea. For example, they might need to check for ulcers, physical narrowings in the esophagus, pH levels, and tissue changes.
For this reason, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy and take some samples in order to identify the cause and pick the best treatment for your case.
The doctor may recommend that you start with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and avoiding fatty foods, in combination with anti-reflux medication to manage your problem. In some cases, such as hiatal hernia, surgery may be required.
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Can Anxiety Cause Indigestion
Stress and anxiety can affect the body and can aggravate symptoms of indigestion. The physiological stress due to anxiety and stress also affect indigestion. Because indigestion can be caused by anxiety, lifestyle and diet, or another medical condition, it may be difficult to know what is causing it.
Contact a doctor to find out if anxiety is causing your indigestion, and to help you manage your anxiety if it is aggravating indigestion symptoms.
Causes Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Lots of people get heartburn from time to time. There’s often no obvious reason why.
Sometimes it’s caused or made worse by:
- certain food and drink such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
- being overweight
- some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers
- a hiatus hernia when part of your stomach moves up into your chest
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What Are The Symptoms Of Gerd
Heartburn usually is described as a burning pain in the middle of the chest. It may start high in the abdomen or may extend up the neck or back. Sometimes the pain may be sharp or pressure-like, rather than burning. Such pain can mimic heart pain . Typically, heartburn related to GERD is seen more commonly after a meal. Other symptoms of GERD include:
- Hoarseness if acid reflux gets past the upper esophageal sphincter, it can enter the throat and even the voice box , causing hoarseness or sore throat.
- Chronic dry cough, especially at night GERD is a common cause of unexplained coughing. It is not clear how cough is caused or aggravated by GERD.
- Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat
- Sudden increase of saliva
In infants and children, GERD can produce these symptoms:
- Recurrent vomiting
- A failure to thrive
False Shortness Of Breath / December 12
Dyspnea, which means shortness of breath, hasnumerous causes. The five major bodysystems that can cause dyspnea are the a) lungs, b) heart, c) muscles, d)blood, and e) circulation. Disturbancesof these five systems such as: a) lung asthma, b) heart failure, c) muscleweakness, d) blood anemia, e) and circulation dehydration all lead to shortness of breath, especially uponexertion. True shortness of breath,therefore, is worsened by exertion and improves with rest .
Pseudo-dyspnea, which means false shortness of breath, isthe opposite of true dyspnea. It isimproved by exertion and worsened by rest. One of the best clinical tools that can differentiate between true andfalse shortness of breath is exertion. Simply asking the patient who suffers from dyspnea if the shortness ofbreath is made worse or better by activity will clarify the diagnosis. The three main causes of pseudo-dyspnea orthe false shortness of breath are a) esophagitis, b) anxiety, and c) panic.
a) Esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus, is mostlycaused by acid reflux, which is the backlash of stomach acid into theesophagus. Whereas the stomach isconstituted like the mouth, the esophagus is constituted like the eye. A drop of lemon juice in the mouth tastesgood but the same drop in the eye causes a red eye. Similarly, acid in the stomach is well toleratedbecause the stomach has a thick mucous coat whereas acid backlash into theesophagus burns and causes inflammation or esophagitis.
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Does Acid Reflux Lead To Shortness Of Breath
Acid reflux is linked to respiratory symptoms like chronic coughing and wheezing. Acid reflux breathing issues typically happen at night when the acid rising up the throat gets in the lungs. The airways then swell, thus causing shortness of breath. Stomach acid can inflame the windpipe in general which can cause breathing issues. The connection is not entirely understood, but acid reflux and shortness of breath often go hand-in-hand.
Can Pain Between Shoulder Blades Be Caused By Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a fairly common condition in the United States, with over 15 million Americans experiencing heartburn each day. While acid reflux has a variety of symptoms, it rarely progresses to anything an antacid cant fix. But for serious cases of acid reflux, it can manifest in some extremely painful and difficult to manage symptoms, most of which arent typical of your usual episode of heartburn.
So can acid reflux cause symptoms like acute pain between your shoulder blades? It can, but it usually means its progressed beyond simple heartburn and into Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD. While it can require more treatment than acid reflux, the chest and back pain it causes can be managed.
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How Can You Prevent Indigestion
Most episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. If indigestion symptoms worsen, consult a health-care professional.
Indigestion caused by lifestyle habits can often be prevented.
- Do not chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat quickly. This causes you to swallow air, which can aggravate indigestion.
- Chew food completely and eat slowly.
- Drink fluids after meals, rather than during.
- Avoid late-night eating.
- Wait at least one hour after eating to exercise.
- Always take aspirin and NSAIDs with food.
- If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to a food, avoid the aggravating foods.
- Meditation may help if indigestion is caused by stress or anxiety.
Is Your Pain Accompanied By A Runny Nose Coughing Sore Throat And Fever
Acute bronchitis can make your chest ache, a pain that worsens if you have a hacking cough. The condition occurs when your bronchial tubes become inflamed. Mucus builds up, leading to shortness of breath and feeling like you have a cold.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and ask you to rest and drink plenty of liquids to thin the mucus and keep your bronchial tubes lubricated. If symptoms continue longer than 10 days, consider getting a chest X-ray to determine whether your condition has turned into pneumonia or if there is another culprit causing your pain.
Reasons Not To Ignore Gerd Symptoms
For most Americans, heartburn is just an occasional problem. Sixty million people get it at least once a month. But for the 19 million people who have a chronic form of heartburn known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , untreated symptoms can lead to a variety of health complications. If you experience frequent or extended heartburn , see your doctor. Here are nine reasons why you shouldnt ignore signs of GERD.
How Acid Reflux Gerd And Chest Pain Are Related
While most people use acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD interchangeably, they have specific definitions. Here is a quick definition of terms:
- Acid reflux: a reaction that occurs when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of the esophagus relaxes uncontrollably, which makes stomach acid leak into your esophagus.
- GERD: A chronic, severe form of acid reflux.
- Heartburn: a burning pain usually felt in the chest area, a symptom of both acid reflux and GERD.
Aside from heartburn, GERD and acid reflux share many similar symptoms like nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, increased abdominal pain, neck pain, and an acidic sensation in the throat and mouth.
Acid reflux will usually progress to GERD given enough time and/or lack of treatment. Because of the intensity of heartburn associated with GERD, pain may radiate from the referred area of the esophagus to your lower back.
Typically, this back pain is triggered by GERD itself, but there are other symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or speaking, or swelling and inflammation that can also manifest. Patients may also experience vomiting or experiencing a feeling of regurgitating food. Even if heartburn itself isnt that severe, repeated, and consistent long-term heartburns may develop into chronic pain in the chest and back area.
Here are three acid reflux and GERD related triggers for back pain:
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A Doctor Explains The Three Ways That Gerd Can Cause Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath, when it comes to GERD or acid reflux, is more accurately referred to as labored or difficulty breathing, or a sensation that the airway has become constricted.
So its not the same shortness of breath that you feel after running up two flights of stairs or chasing after your dog.
Gastroesophageal reflux followed by regurgitation and/or aspiration of gastric juice has been associated with several extra-esophageal complications including asthma, says Akram Alashari, MD, a trauma surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center in PA, and author of THE POWER OF PEAK STATE.
He explains, Two major mechanisms of reflux-induced asthma have been proposed: aspiration of gastric contents into the lung with consequent bronchospasm.
Reflux-induced activation of a vago-vagal reflex arc from the esophagus to the lung causing bronchoconstriction.
And of course, theres LPR:
Dr. Alashari explains, Otolaryngologic manifestations of GERD can result from the esophagopharyngeal reflux of gastric contents with subsequent contact injury of the pharyngeal and laryngeal mucosa.
The term laryngopharyngeal reflux has been used to describe this process.
So those are the three mechanisms through which GERD can cause trouble breathing or the so-called shortness of breath.
Do Your Symptoms Appear After Eating
If you have overindulged or eaten greasy or spicy foods, you may experience a scorching feeling in your chest. This could be heartburn, which is a symptom of acid reflux and is caused by GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
30%-40% of patients presenting to ER with chest pain have chest pain due to acid reflux, or GERD, says Caitlin Houghton, MD, a general surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Although, heartburn can be due to heart problems and should be checked by an ER or local doctor, she adds.
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What Causes Aspiration Pneumonia
Pneumonia from aspiration can occur when your defenses are impaired and the aspirated contents have a large amount of harmful bacteria.
You can aspirate and develop pneumonia if your food or drink goes down the wrong way. This may happen even if you can swallow normally and have a regular gag reflex. In that case, most of the time youll be able to prevent this by coughing. Those who have impaired coughing ability, however, may not be able to. This impairment may be due to:
- neurological disorders
Can Symptoms Other Than Heartburn Be Signs Of Gerd
Numerous symptoms other than heartburn are associated with GERD. These may include belching, difficulty or pain when swallowing, or waterbrash .
An alarming symptom needing prompt medical attention is dysphagia .
Other GERD symptoms may involve chronic sore throat, laryngitis, throat clearing, chronic cough, and other oral complaints such as inflammation of the gums and erosion of the enamel of the teeth. Small amounts of acid can reflux into the back of the throat or into the lungs and cause irritation.
Hoarseness in the morning, a sour taste, or bad breath may be clues of GERD. Chronic asthma, cough, wheezing, and noncardiac chest pain, may be due to GERD. People with these symptoms often have less frequent or even absent typical symptoms of GERD such as heartburn.
Chest pain or chest pressure may indicate acid reflux. Nevertheless, this kind of pain or discomfort should prompt urgent medical evaluation. Possible heart conditions must always be excluded first.
When seeing a doctor, relief or improvement of symptoms after a two-week trial therapy with a proton pump inhibitor is an indication that GERD is the likely cause. This can also be confirmed with pH monitoring, which measures the level of acid refluxing into the esophagus and as high as the larynx.
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