The affliction known as acid reflux, most commonly referred to as heartburn, occurs when the acidic digestive juices in one’s stomach find its way into their esophagus. The popular presumption is that a diet rich in acidic content contributes greatly to the symptomatic display of acid reflux. After all, why would the stomach acid be overflowing unless there’s too much of it? Contrary to public assumption, it’s actually a low stomach acid and indigestion that are usually at fault.
And the esophagus, lacking the stomach’s protection of an appropriate lining, develops lesions and tissue scarring. If left untreated it may eventually result in the formation of esophageal cancer.
Despite being commonly mistaken for acid reflux, the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD) are generally more severe. But due to the low specificity of diagnostic testing currently rendered by physicians, it’s only in the presence of typical acid reflux symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation that GERD becomes easier to identify. But due to the difficulty in determining the cause-and-effect correlation between GERD and its atypical symptoms, many of them get brushed aside as merely indicative of common colds or flu.
Here are ten of the most overlooked atypical symptoms of GERD. Forewarned is forearmed!
Of the estimated 15 million asthma sufferers in America, as many as 80% of their conditions can be linked to some form of GERD. While most asthma patients lament also having heartburn, pH monitoring has helped specialists deduce that up to 75% of them do also display elevated esophageal acid exposure. A condition possibly induced by the asthma medications by eroding the esophagus natural protective membrane.
But an asthma patient need only concern themselves with the possibility of having GERD if their asthmatic symptoms become noticeably worse: after eating a big meal or drinking alcohol, when laying on their backs, or when their usual asthma medications seem to have little to no effect on improving their condition.
A big giveaway when differentiating GERD from asthma is acknowledging at which part of the breathing cycle one experiences the most difficulty or discomfort. While breathing in or out? People with acid reflux tend to have greater difficulty while breathing in, whereas asthma sufferers struggle more while breathing out.