June 9, 2011
Hiatal Hernia Shortness of Breath
Hiatal hernia is the term used to describe a condition in which a portion of the stomach has protruded into the diaphragm, either as a result of a tear or a weakness of the diaphragm muscle. When this occurs, it interferes with the flow of food through the esophagus and into the stomach, which can result in multiple problems including heartburn, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Hiatal hernias are most common in individuals over the age of 50 and can be caused or aggravated by factors such as obesity, smoking, frequent coughing, poor posture, and heavy lifting. Many individuals who suffer from hiatal hernias do not experience any symptoms, but a small percentage of people will experience symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty swallowing, acid reflux, and hiccups.
One of the more disturbing symptoms reported with hiatal hernias is shortness of breath. This happens when the hernia crowds the chest area, thereby giving the lungs less room to work. With the reduced lung capacity, individuals who suffer from this condition often find that they have a hard time catching their breath, as well as feeling as if they never quite get enough oxygen into their lungs. It can make everyday activities such as climbing stairs much more difficult.
Often, lifestyle changes can be highly effective in mitigating the symptoms of a Hiatal hernia. Simple changes such as exercising more and improving posture can make a significant difference, especially when it comes to alleviating the shortness of breath that can occur with a hiatal hernia. Other recommended changes include eating smaller meals, refraining from heavy lifting, and elevating the head while sleeping. Dietary changes also have been shown to have a positive impact on these symptoms. Eliminating things such as caffeine, chocolate, and fried foods can be highly effective and preventing or eliminating these symptoms.
For many individuals experiencing shortness of breath due to a Hiatal hernia, implementing these lifestyle and dietary changes will allow them to successfully eliminate or manage their symptoms.
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