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Respiratory Ailments May Start in Your Stomach by North Coast Man ..... News Forum

Date:   2/6/2007 5:34:51 AM ( 16 years ago ago)
Hits:   2,661

Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Daily Health News
Boardroom, Inc.
281 Tresser Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901

From BottomLine's Daily Health News:

Respiratory Ailments May Start in Your Stomach

By now we've all heard the warnings about common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When acid from the stomach refluxes up into the esophagus, there may be heartburn, unexplained chest pain, inflammation of the esophagus and trouble swallowing. It's important to address these symptoms with your doctor rather than simply ignore them. However, there are a number of less common and seldom discussed side effects and complications of GERD, which range from chronic cough and sore throat to serious chronic respiratory problems, including non-allergic asthma, pneumonia and emphysema.

For information about the more surprising symptoms and complications of GERD, I turned to our own digestion guru, Daily Health News consulting medical director Andrew L. Rubman, ND. He told me that there are many secondary symptoms and illnesses that are related to not only GERD, but also to the all-too-common conventional treatment of antacids, acid reducers and acid suppressants. Dr. Rubman described how GERD does its dirty work in the body, and what we can do about it.


Many of the more surprising symptoms and consequences of GERD are due to its effect on the respiratory system. You can think about the respiratory system as an upside down tree, says Dr. Rubman. We breathe in through our noses, and air passes through the sinuses into the pharynx (home to the vocal cords), through the trachea or windpipe, which leads down the chest where it branches into the lungs. Problems arise when acid refluxes from the esophagus and penetrates the respiratory system. This acid progresses up from the stomach and esophagus and descends back down through the respiratory tree, explains Dr. Rubman. The farther down the acid seeps, the more damage it can cause. If the acid reaches the pharynx, you may experience hoarseness and a sore throat... symptoms you would ordinarily be more likely to associate with a cold or flu than with GERD. According to Dr. Rubman, if it penetrates all the way down into the lungs, you are more vulnerable to serious problems such as inflammation of the lungs, COPD, asthma, pneumonia or emphysema. Since GERD may be overlooked as a contributing factor to these conditions, the opportunity to address and remedy the problem before it grows worse is often overlooked. Ironically, antacids, acid reducers and proton-pump inhibitors (acid suppressors) are now commonly prescribed as treatment for asthma. Of course this creates a chicken and egg event as the doctors search for the root cause of the GERD-asthma problem.

Another commonly overlooked area of importance is the tonsillar ring, consisting of the tonsils and adenoids, notes Dr. Rubman. This ring is designed to alert the immune system about any unique challenges that are entering with the air we breathe. He warns that if the area is chronically irritated by the acid reflux from GERD, it will diminish the immune capacity of the respiratory tract and an individual may be more vulnerable to illness if he/she suffers from GERD.

All in all, with its negative impact on the respiratory system and immunity overall, GERD may result in surprising symptoms and complications, including...

Chronic cough
Sore throat
Difficulty breathing during exercise
Non-allergic asthma
COPD, bronchitis
Laryngitis or weaker voice
Other respiratory inflammations and infections

The single most important thing -- don't use antacids, acid suppressants, such as proton pump inhibitors, or acid reducers, such as H2 antagonists, advises Dr. Rubman. Although these are heavily marketed as the solution to GERD, in fact their use can backfire and cause even more damage by making the stomach vulnerable to microbial penetration. Ignore all the marketing hype, encourages Dr. Rubman. It is a mistake to take antacids, acid suppressants or acid reducers and suppress stomach acid for any length of time, except when treating an acute ulcer (and that's for a maximum of 14 days). The truth is that we need stomach acid to digest the food we eat, and excess stomach acid is a rare condition, according to Dr. Rubman.

The good news is that a trained and qualified naturopathic physician can often cure GERD in three to four weeks, observes Dr. Rubman. Lifestyle modifications and detection and elimination of H. pylori associated gastritis will help ensure the success of naturopathic treatments. To send GERD symptoms packing, Dr. Rubman advises...

Chew food thoroughly. The better you break down food in the mouth, the less work you leave for the rest of the digestive system.
Monitor food combinations. For optimal digestion, do not combine simple carbohydrates (such as processed and refined sugars) with saturated fats (red meat, dairy products, etc.)... eat fruits at least 30 minutes before or after meals... ease up on the sugary desserts, etc.
No grazing. Your best bet to control stomach acid levels is to eat three square meals a day and let your stomach rest in-between.
Limited or preferably no water/fluids with meals. Water and other fluids dilute stomach acid and render it less effective.
To prevent or control GERD symptoms, consider with your physician healthier alternatives to antacids or any other acid reducing or suppressing drug. Dr. Rubman often prescribes natural digestive enzymes in products such as DuoZyme by Karuna to help break down foods into nutrients the body can more readily digest and decrease colonized micro-organisms in the stomach. Other prescribed digestive aids may include hydrochloric acid supplements, Gentiana lutea-L. (yellow Gentian), Glyconda, Compound Herbal Elixer (Eclectic Institute) and Gastri-Gest (Priority One).

To cope with the symptoms and complications of GERD, from the obvious to the subtle, once again the key is to support optimal function of the digestive tract. If you suffer from any of the less obvious symptoms of GERD, be sure to mention these to your physician.

Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Daily Health News
Boardroom, Inc.
281 Tresser Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901


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