So you were diagnosed with acid reflux and that is why you often experience heartburn — that daunting chest pain that many mistake for a heart attack — as well as nausea, a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth, excessive salivation, regurgitation of stomach content and the desire to burp. But often you also experience shortness of breath each time you are having an acid reflux attack. And now you are wondering: is it due to acid reflux or something else?
If you’re told by your doctor that you have acid reflux and you also encounter shortness of breath alongside other usual symptoms of acid reflux, read on. Afterwards, share this article on your various social media sites to let your family members and friends who have acid reflux also know if their shortness of breath can be associated with it.
According to gastroenterologists, medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various problems concerning the organs of the digestive system, shortness of breath can actually be considered as one of the many symptoms of acid reflux, and not just issues regarding the circulatory and respiratory systems.
The culprit behind it is stomach acid — the very same thing that is responsible for the various other classic symptoms of acid reflux. You see, acid reflux happens when the stomach acid (or sometimes stomach content that has acid in it) escapes the stomach and climbs up the esophagus. When this happens, the inner lining of the esophagus becomes irritated, and this causes one of the hallmark indicators of acid reflux to strike, and that is heartburn.
Stomach acid that has found its way up the esophagus can actually go as high as the larynx, or what everybody knows as the voice box. From there, it can climb higher until it reaches the mouth, or enter the airways. It is when the stomach acid gets inside the airways when shortness of breath due to acid reflux happens — the acidity of the said substance irritates the airways, causing the person who is having a bout of acid reflux to feel like he or she is short of breath.
Did you know that a lot of people with asthma have acid reflux, and a lot of people with acid reflux have asthma? Experts say that there is a strong link between acid reflux and asthma — when stomach acid repeatedly enters the airways and causes irritation, it’s very much possible for the inner lining of the airways to get damaged. This can result in the development of asthma. Those who have asthma may experience attacks when their acid reflux acts up — stomach acid that enters the airways may actually trigger an asthma attack.
So if you are experiencing shortness of breath and a cardiologist says that your heart is in tip-top condition and a pulmonologist confirms that your lungs are A-OK, then it’s not unlikely that it is your acid reflux that’s responsible for it. This is especially true if your shortness of breath comes with other acid reflux symptoms.
Just like when putting the other symptoms of acid reflux under control, you can deal with shortness of breath that’s due to acid reflux by dealing with the root cause. If your gastroenterologist has prescribed you with medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and antacids, make sure that you take them as instructed. It will also help a lot if you follow the dietary and lifestyle changes recommended for the management of acid reflux.