acid reflux heartburn GERD logo

Is Acid Reflux Linked to Asthma or Chronic Lung Disease?

Fifteen million Americans have asthma, and it is estimated that up to 70% of asthmatics have acid reflux. Asthma is a lung disease characterized by muscle spasms in the airways of the lungs. When these muscles go into spasm and contract, it limits the ability of air to move in or out of the lungs and causes wheezing, shortness of breath, or coughing. This is treated usually with inhaled medications that relax the airways. Many factors can start an asthma attack, such as pollen and other allergens such as animal hair, cold air, noxious fumes, and stomach acid. Sometimes a chest cold caused by an infection can start or worsen asthma symptoms.

Some people with asthma have symptoms of acid reflux, but many do not. A study of 199 asthmatics who had pH studies conducted by Harding, Guzzon, and Richter, and published in Chest in 1999, showed that 72% had abnormal amounts of acid in the esophagus. Reflux makes asthma worse when aspirated stomach acid enters the lungs and burns the airways, causing these muscles to go into spasm. A large portion of the patients studied reported no reflux symptoms. So, asthmatics may have a problem with silent reflux and not even know it . Other studies of patients with asthma have shown improvement of asthma symptoms and decreased need for asthma medications for those treated with antacid medications. Because of this, many lung doctors recommend a 3-month trial of antacid medication for asthma patients with obvious acid reflux. Antacid medications might also be considered for those with poorly controlled asthma that requires multiple medications.

Is Acid Reflux Linked to Asthma or Chronic Lung Disease? References

By Mortin - Copyright 2009
Last modification 31/12/2009