Acid reflux can cause burning in the throat, heartburn and even pain in the chest, but can this condition also affect your lungs too?
Acid Reflux: What Causes It?
Sometimes your stomach isn’t able to hold and digest meals that were too large for it. When this happens, acid reflux can occur, sending partially-digested food back up through the esophagus and into the throat.
Sometimes the acid from the stomach also travels back up through this tube that connects the stomach with the throat. When this acidic liquid makes it way back into the throat it can cause burning. It can also damage teeth too, eroding enamel if it occurs frequently.
This reflux can also occur due to a problem with the esophageal sphincter muscle. Normally the lower portion of this muscle opens to allow food to enter the stomach and then closes right back up immediately afterwards.
But when the band of muscle (the lower esophageal sphincter muscle) doesn’t close after food passes into the stomach it can cause acid reflux to occur.
Acid Reflux: What Does It Do to The Lungs?
Just as liquid acid and undigested food can travel through the esophagus back into the throat it can also find its way into the lungs. When this happens it can potentially damage the lungs epithelial barrier.
This barrier in the lungs is made up of cellular tissue. The barrier is basically a lining within the lungs and its purpose is to remove any foreign particles like dust that enter the body when you breathe. When liquid acidic contents attempt to enter, as they make their way to air passageways due to acid reflux, this epithelial barrier is damaged by the acid.
Acid Reflux: Epithelial Lung Barrier and Asthma
The epithelial barrier in your lungs helps lessen your asthma if you suffer from that condition. Therefore, if your epithelial tissue is damaged by acid reflux it is less effective. This, in turn, can make your asthma attacks worse when they occur.
Acid Reflux: Treatment Options
Our bodies are amazing things, and the lungs are no exception. Although no man-made treatment exists for dealing with acid reflux that has affected the epithelial barrier in the lungs, the body will eventually correct this problem itself.
However, continuation of the problem can take its toll and result in more serious complications, including pneumonia, recurring bronchitis and sinusitis, as well as bleeding, according to Healthcentral.com. Therefore, it is important to find out the cause of your acid reflux and treat the cause.
This can include reducing weight, eating smaller-portioned meals, and changing your diet.
The Mayo Clinic.com – Heartburn: Causes
Detox.org: Detoxing Your Lungs
Healthcentral.com: Complications (Pgs. 1-3)