Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Link Between Allergies and GERD

Chronic heartburn can affect the immune system and raise the risk of asthma for some people. Studies have linked gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with allergies that can cause asthma.
When people have GERD, small amounts of stomach acid leak back into the esophagus and lungs. The sphincter, a muscle between the stomach and esophagus, should only open when we swallow, allowing foods to travel from the esophagus to the stomach. When that muscle is not working properly, it allows stomach contents to leak back into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.
Symptoms of acid reflux include burning in the throat, a sour taste, and burping. While that can be uncomfortable, over time the damage can be significant. Stomach acids that travel to the esophagus destroy the delicate lining, causing inflammation and pain. While everyone experiences heartburn from time to time, about 10 percent of the U.S. population suffer from GERD every day.
GERD causes similar symptoms to heartburn, but the chronic nature of the disease also leads to frequent coughing and wheezing. Children might refuse to eat, or gag and choke when they are fed. Ultimately children will fail to thrive due to malnourishment.

Food allergies occur when the immune system treats something in food as if it's harmful to the body. Just as it protects you from germs and viruses by making antibodies, the immune system might launch a defense against normally benign substances. The most common foods that cause allergies are milk, eggs, soy, gluten, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts.
So why the link between allergies and GERD? A leaky gut allows undigested proteins to enter the blood stream. Those proteins are recognized by the immune system as foreign bodies, so antibodies are released. In an allergic reaction, those antibodies that are intended to protect you cause inflammation. Over time and repeated exposure to the trigger food, that constant inflammation can lead to chronic pain.
In fact, food allergies in children have risen 18 percent over the last decade according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Once the allergies are identified, those foods can be eliminated from the diet and the symptoms can be controlled. When symptoms are ignored, the damage continues and symptoms will worsen.
Unfortunately we tend to treat the symptoms of acid reflux, not the problem. Lifestyle changes can help. Eating smaller meals, losing weight and avoiding exercise right after a meal can reduce the symptoms. Avoiding allergy triggers in food and focusing on nutrient-dense foods will not only relieve symptoms, but also help improve digestion and correct the larger problem of malnourishment.

     Article Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment