Why antacids—not your inhaler—may be the key to treating your asthma

June 5, 2018 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network
Obstruction of the lumen of a bronchiole by mucoid exudate, goblet cell metaplasia, and epithelial basement membrane thickening in a person with asthma. Credit: Yale Rosen/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Asthma is a relatively common lung problem, usually caused by allergies, heavy exercise or chemical exposure in the workplace. But Dr. Alexei Gonzalez Estrada, a Mayo Clinic allergy and immunology specialist, says most people don't realize heartburn could be making their asthma worse.

Think of your lungs and airway as an upside-down tree.

"And what happens is you have inflammation of your airway tree, Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says. "And what happens is it gets full of gunk, and that's when people get wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness."

That's asthma.

"Heartburn can also irritate the airway, and you're never going to catch your asthma if you don't treat your symptoms, as well," Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says.

Heartburn is one of the first things he asks patients about when they come in for . He says there are two theories about why heartburn worsens asthma symptoms.

"There's ... the theory that (acid) actually goes all the way up into your throat, and it goes into your airway and irritates your airways," he says. "Or the other theory that (acid) actually irritates your nerves, which are connected to the same nerves that are in charge of you having coughing."

So the next time your acts up, ask your if heartburn could be the real problem.

Explore further: Raising awareness about asthma is critical, says expert

5 shares

Related Stories

Raising awareness about asthma is critical, says expert

May 15, 2018
Millions of people in the United States, regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity, are impacted by asthma, and the number of asthma sufferers is only projected to grow. To raise awareness about this disease, May is recognized ...

Study brings hope of a new treatment for asthma sufferers

March 1, 2017
Improved treatments for people with severe asthma are a 'step closer' after a research team led by the University of Leicester identified a breakthrough in the cause of airway narrowing.

Asthma differences in adults and children

March 22, 2018
As the winter cold season melts into seasonal spring allergies, many people may start to experience sneezing, wheezing and other breathing difficulties.

Researchers ID microbiome genes tied to asthma

November 22, 2017
(HealthDay)—Functional genes in the upper airway microbiome may be tied to childhood asthma, according to a study published Nov. 20 in Allergy.

Heartburn pills in pregnancy may be linked to childhood asthma

January 9, 2017
Children born to mothers who take heartburn medication during pregnancy may have a greater risk of developing asthma, research suggests.

Using lung MRI to see where and why Canadians with asthma have poor disease control

April 4, 2018
Researchers at Western University and McMaster University are developing an innovative lung imaging method that provides a unique window on asthma that is aimed at guiding and personalizing treatment for Canadians with severe, ...

Recommended for you

Fetal T cells are first responders to infection in adults

June 20, 2018
Cornell University researchers have discovered there is a division of labor among immune cells that fight invading pathogens in the body.

How a thieving transcription factor dominates the genome

June 20, 2018
One powerful DNA-binding protein, the transcription factor PU.1, steals away other transcription factors and recruits them for its own purposes, effectively dominating gene regulation in developing immune cells, according ...

Composition of complex sugars in breast milk may prevent future food allergies

June 12, 2018
The unique composition of a mother's breastmilk may help to reduce food sensitization in her infant, report researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues in Canada.

Drug may quell deadly immune response when trauma spills the contents of our cells' powerhouses

June 11, 2018
When trauma spills the contents of our cell powerhouses, it can evoke a potentially deadly immune response much like a severe bacterial infection.

Immune system does not recover despite cured hepatitis C infection

June 11, 2018
Changes to the immune system remain many years after a hepatitis C infection heals, a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Hannover Medical School, Germany, shows. The findings, presented in Nature ...

Food allergies connected to children with autism spectrum disorder

June 8, 2018
A new study from the University of Iowa finds that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.