How Chronic Heartburn Can Worsen Asthma

How Chronic Heartburn Can Worsen AsthmaHeartburn isn’t much fun. If you’ve ever had it you’ll be familiar with the fiery sensation in your chest causing discomfort and pain. By itself it can affect wellbeing and your ability to enjoy life. But new research suggests that heartburn could be more than just an after-dinner inconvenience; it might actually be a serious health concern.

The new study, published in JAMA Surgery, revealed evidence that chronic heartburn is a major cause of asthma in adults. The findings could place asthma on a list of health risks that are already associated with chronic heartburn, which is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – one of the most common digestive disorders across Western nations.

Chronic heartburn happens when a muscle at the end of the oesophagus fails to close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak into the oesophagus and irritate it. The symptoms of the conditions include chest discomfort, dry cough, difficulty swallowing, sore throat and vomiting.

In this new study, the researchers used a specially designed catheter that measures levels of acid exposure within the patient’s airway. This new method should be far more effective in determining patients with asthma induced by chronic heartburn.

Interestingly, the team also found that symptoms of asthma reduced for the majority of patients after they had surgery for chronic heartburn. Previously it had been very difficult to effectively diagnose patients and determine which of them might benefit from surgery.

Some experts, however, are not especially surprised by the findings. As chronic heartburn affects the oesophagus it’s not unlikely that it could have an effect on respiratory problems. However, it is a problem that affects millions of people across the world and the findings are significant as they point to a new way to help sufferers.

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