Understanding the Connection Between Asthma and Reflux

While it is undeniably true that health and wellbeing are two of the greatest gifts that anyone is ever going to be gifted in their lifetime, it is just as fundamentally true that they are gifts that, as nice as it would be if they were, are not given as guarantees. Sometimes, no matter how much attention to detail and commitment one gives to their health and wellbeing, the cards that they are ultimately dealt are not nearly as ideal as they would like. Sometimes, all one can do is work the hand they are dealt and try to figure out the best way to move forward towards a happier and healthier future.

It can be a distinctive work in progress to work towards being able to safely and securely navigate one’s journey with their health and wellbeing, particularly if you are living with a health ailment that you are not anywhere close to being fully accepting of. There is also the distinct realisation that not all health issues and the like are given the same amount of research and case studies (even though of course every health issue should be given the same attention to detail). There are some health ailments that are not given nearly enough attention to detail and overall emphasis.

Understanding reflux asthma

One of them is reflux asthma. The connection between asthma and reflux is one that we are still trying to gain a solid understanding of, however it is important to note that what we do understand so far is that the two conditions each work in alignment with the development of the other in many cases. For some individuals, their asthma is largely manageable. For others, quite the opposite proves to be true. This is what often happens when an individual who suffers with reflux also has asthma and vice versa. So, how can each of these conditions negatively impact the other in an affected individual?

How asthma can cause or worsen reflux

The simple fact is that reflux can actually cause or worsen reflux. This is a factor in two ways. Individuals with asthma often develop a decidedly strong cough. The underlying reason why is that when an individual with asthma coughs, the relaxation of the esophagus’ lower valve can allow for reflux to pass through more easily. This is because that lower valve (i.e. the lower esophageal sphincter) is essentially a barrier against reflux, so when it relaxes it obviously creates a gateway for reflux to pass through more easily.

How reflux can cause or worsen asthma

On the other hand, relux reaches both the esophagus and into the airways and throat area when an individual suffers from laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). This form of silent reflux can manifest coughs and other respiratory issues, the likes of which can sometimes resemble similar symptoms to what an asthmatic may experience. Obviously, this can cause significant discomfort and even heightened levels of pain in an individual who is suffering with what is expected or confirmed to be both asthma and reflux at the same time. For this reason (and many others), it is especially important to stay on top of one’s symptoms at all times.