The question “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?” may be surprising to most people who are more familiar with acid reflux that affects the digestive system, also known as GERD (Gastroesophagealreflux disease). However, in answering the question “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?”, one must specifically look at LPR, or laryngopharyngeal reflux. This kind of reflux affects the respiratory system, particularly the larynx, pharynx and lungs.
A person who has LPR may not suffer from such obvious symptoms as heartburn. That is why it is called “the silent reflux” and is often left undiagnosed. It may lead to acid reflux breathing problems though, which will be apparent in pursuing the question “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?”
Can Acid Reflux Cause Lung Problems? The Basics
In answering our question, it is important to understand that laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR occurs when the esophagus receives digestive acids from the stomach and spills it onto the larynx (voice box), the pharynx (throat) and the nasal airways.
Before addressing “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?”, here are the symptoms of LPR:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Post-nasal drip or unusually large amount of mucus in the throat
If you think you might have LPR and are concerned with the idea of GERD and breathing problems, it is important that you see a doctor right away to be properly diagnosed. The doctor will use the following tools to diagnose you.
- Physical Examination
- Medical history
- PH monitoring, where the PH levels in your nose and esophagus are measured over a 24-hour period
More important than answering “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?” is having yourself diagnosed right away. This will ensure that you
will get the timely treatment that you need.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Lung Problems? The Link to Asthma
Although the answer to “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?” is obviously yes, here is a list of complications that include lung problems as well as non-respiratory conditions. In children it can cause contact ulcers, chronic ear infections and build up of middle ear fluid. In adults, complications may include throat and larynx irritation and cancer. As for “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?”, acid reflux has been known to cause such respiratory disorders as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
Scientists are now in a better position to establish the answer to “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?” Many studies have been done on the subject. One recent study successfully treated asthma patients by treating them for acid reflux first. This shows not only a positive answer to “Can acid reflux cause lung problems?”. More significantly, this suggests a different approach in treating asthma patients in the future. This study involving asthma patients shows that apparently, the next step to determining if indeed
“Can acid reflux cause lung problems” is whether or not curing acid reflux can help cure lung problems by preventing from having stomach acid in lungs.