Acid Reflux and Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States.  Because asthma is considered a chronic illness, treatment regimens for patients must be followed accordingly in order to reduce the affects and ongoing health problems that can result from the condition.

Many patients will require not just a preventative or reactive medication, but a tailored combination of both types of medications in order to provide them with maximum relief from their illness.  Most physicians agree that the desired outcome it to get the maximum relief from the minimum amount of medication.  

Patients who develop severe unexplained flare-ups of their asthma are often found to be suffering from Acid Reflux or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease in addition to asthma.  The connection was discovered with the help of researchers who performed studies to map the connection. 

The symptoms of Acid Reflux include mild to severe chest pain with a characteristic “heart burn” feeling.

There is some confusion as to the exact relationship between the two conditions. Does reflux exacerbate asthma, or the other way around? This question is unresolved and is the foundation piece for many research studies.

The leaning tends to be that GERD makes asthma worse, however there then should be evidence that shows a reduction in asthma flare-ups and symptoms when GERD is treated with medication. This is not always the case. Perhaps that is due to interactions of the necessary medication for both conditions.

Some scientists argue that GERD is worsened as a result of the constriction of the airways in the chest during an asthma attack. However still others dispute that the reason asthma is worse is the extra acid in the passages of the upper body, weakening mucous coated membranes that are already hypersensitive in asthma patients.

Asthma medications frequently need to be reviewed by a patient’s physician in order to ensure that the medication continues to be effective for the patient in controlling and preventing the onset of asthma attacks. This is also very true when asthma medications are combined with medications used to treat Acid Reflux. Patients should stay in close contact with their physician in order to determine the best combination of medications for their particular case.

Asthma Guide


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