Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

COPD and Acid Reflux

18 May 2015
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease, Related Conditions | Posted by | 1 Comment
Acid Reflux and COPD Lung Institute

Did you know that if you have COPD you’re more likely to experience acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? According to Everyday Health, more than half of those suffering from advanced COPD are likely to also experience GERD symptoms. GERD occurs when the valve that keeps contents in the stomach malfunctions, which causes stomach acid to release into the esophagus.

Some symptoms include chest pain, ear, nose and throat disorders, indigestion, coughing, wheezing and abdominal pain. When gastric acid reaches the back of the throat, it can cause a sour taste in a person’s mouth and can also be inhaled into the lungs, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.

Because GERD can worsen COPD symptoms, including frequent coughing and difficulty breathing, it is important to take steps to reduce the likelihood of experiencing GERD if you have COPD. While no one knows the exact cause of GERD, following the subsequent guidelines will help reduce the likelihood of experiencing GERD symptoms:

  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Avoid eating before bedtime.
  • Limit the following types of foods: fatty, fried, garlic, onions, high acid foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes), spicy foods, mints, chocolate.
  • Drink fewer caffeinated drinks.
  • Exercise good posture.
  • Use an extra pillow when sleeping as raising your head helps.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Stay in shape; obesity can cause GERD.
  • Be mindful of certain medications that bring about symptoms: calcium channel blockers, theophyllines, nitrates, and antihistamines.
  • Certain medical conditions can put a person at risk, including hiatus hernia, pregnancy, diabetes and rapid weight gain.

GERD can be very difficult for people with COPD. Dr. David Mannino, pulmonologist at the University of Kentucky, says, “For patients with COPD, GERD can be especially bothersome, as they typically do not have a great deal of reserve lung capacity.” There are medications that can treat the symptoms of GERD, like heartburn, but they don’t actually treat the condition itself. Because of this, being mindful of causes and taking steps to prevention are extremely important for managing both GERD and COPD symptoms.

It is unclear as to why COPD sufferers also suffer from GERD and vice versa, but an article from the Annals of Thoracic Medicine offers some suggestions. Many GERD sufferers develop pulmonic issues, particularly if they’re experiencing acid reflux at night while sleeping and inadvertently inhaling liquid into their lungs. GERD is often associated with chronic cough, bronchial asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and interstitial fibrosis.

Conversely, COPD frequently leads to GERD. Many medications used to treat COPD actually weaken the esophageal sphincter, therefore causing acid reflux. Also, according to the COPD Foundation, many COPD sufferers have air trapped in their lungs, which increases pressure on the abdomen, which causes acid reflux.

While there isn’t a cure for COPD or GERD, the symptoms can certainly be managed to make life with these conditions more manageable. If you suffer from COPD and GERD, follow the suggestions listed above to minimize symptoms.

If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact a patient coordinator today at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.



* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.