An interesting July 25, 2008 article from Webb MD helps explain the asthma and GERD connection: Chronic heartburn may alter the immune system and raise the risk of asthma, according to a new study that helps explain why so many people with asthma also suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Researchers say the link between asthma and GERD has been a mystery for years. Previous studies have shown that 50%-90% of people with asthma also suffer from gastric reflux, but until now the relationship between the two conditions was unclear. The study shows that inhaling small amounts of stomach acid back up into the esophagus and lungs, a hallmark of GERD, slowly produces changes in the immune system that may lead to the development of asthma. An article released in CHEST. (2008; 134(6) 1123-1130.) from the United Kingdom documented from the study of 3 million patient charts that patients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at a significantly increased risk of GERD. COPD is commonly known as emphysema. They also observed respiratory symptoms improve in patients receiving acid-suppressive therapy for GERD. Since the symptoms and diagnosis of asthma and emphysema commonly overlap it is prudent (but relatively uncommon) to consider GERD as a connecting theme. GERD is often associated with heartburn/indigestion but it is entirely possible to have GERD associated with asthma, emphysema and allergies and have little or no heartburn. This type GERD is thus called atypical or silent.
Dear Dr. Barret, I was diagnosed w/ Adult Onset Asthma in 07 and 3 months later ended up in er with Churg-Strauss after taking Singulair, (2 months in hospital ) w/foot drop, vasculitis, paralysis of lower extremities and rt hand, confined to wheelchair after being strong & healthy most of my life, no pharmaceuticals, vegetarian, very active wildlife rehabilitator and IT Tech. Put on Methotrexate, 80 mg Prednisone, 10 mg Oxycodone 4 x day, Percocett, 4 x day, Gabapentin and valium.Against all advice and sensibility I quit all drugs, tapered off Prednisone, detoxed my poisoned and over-medicated body, ate nothing but organic foods, mostly veges and quinoa, no dairy, sugar, coffee and I now drive and walk. Since we moved my asthma has exacerbated. I have to use xopenex 2-4 times a day. (allergies) Now I have pain on my sternum sometimes, yesterday I felt bloating on my left side and & pain. Could this be caused from the xopenex or asthma or what? Thanks so much, Jan