September 14, 2010

Asthma and GERD Reflux

Did you know that your asthma could be linked to your Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Truth is everything is connected when it comes to your health and environment, only some things are more obvious than others.

So let?s take a closer look!

As you may already know asthma has been plaguing children ever since the industrial age started spewing pollutants high into out atmosphere and now more than a hundred and fifty years later, asthma has approached epidemic proportions.

Yet it may surprise you to learn these days our children are coming down with acid reflux, and what?s even more shocking is now they?re developing Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) too.

Now imagine suffering from both conditions . . . whether you?re a child or an adult you?re in some deep trouble.

In fact, the percentage of GERD in people with asthma is estimated to range between 34% and 80%.

The Good News Is . . .

Leading medical experts are finding that by treating the children?s GERD, they are also helping their asthma too.

So what is the hidden connection between asthma and GERD?

There are 2 ideas medical researchers suspect may explain the link:

1) Stimulation of the vagus nerve from bronchospasm

2) Inhaling micro-particles of gastric acid

The verdict is the most likely cause of asthma and GERD is because of the vagus nerve triggering a bronchospasm. The reason being after prolonged acid reflux attacks in the throat, gastric acid erodes the protective mucus layer, exposing the vagus nerve endings.

Let me explain further . . .

The vagus nerve runs from the brain, along the jugular veins, onto the carotid arteries deep inside your neck, then into your chest and deeper into your abdomen. Besides connecting all your organs together, the vagus nerve transmits sensory information of the health of these organs back to the Central Nervous System (CNS).

80-90% of the nerve cells in the vagus nerve system are sensory nerves that keep the brain informed.

It?s interesting to note that this deep running, all important vagus nerve is the main conduit for information from the gut to the brain. In fact, seeing how Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder gone out-of-control, it?s clear to see how GERD and asthma are co-related.

Seriously, considering up to 80% of the time people suffer from both conditions there had to be a simple explanation.

The Brain of the Gut

The word is the gut has an elaborate brain of its own called the ?enteric nervous system? made of 100 million neurons.

Apparently the brain in your gut has vital nerve cells bathed and nurtured by the same neurotransmitters and proteins as the brain in your head.

So know that we all know the vagus nerve is reacting to the acid reflux burning through the flesh in the throat, it all makes a lot more sense, doesn?t it? Especially since learning the gut?s brain sends and receives electrical impulses, records experiences and even responds to emotions.

This whole discovery of the hidden connection between how children?s asthma attacks get better when the gastroesophageal and acid reflux disease are addressed is leading us into a new field of medicine called ?neurogastroenterology.?

Clearly when there is a gastrointestinal problem like acid reflux, or heartburn, it has an impact on the rest of your body and when stomach acid eats through the inside of your neck, the nerves are going to jump, triggering a constriction of the airways.

Now add to that the 2nd theory above as a factor as well. If a child, or a person of any age has gastric acid splashing into their throat, mouth and sinus cavities, there?s no doubt the caustic gas and its micro-particles are going to get into the lungs.

Imagine how bad it feels to have something go down your wind pipe, but that wouldn?t hardly compare to having acid reflux droplets shower down your bronchial tubes now would it?

If you or someone you know if suffering from GERD and asthma, help them by educating yourself about Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM), because that?s the new frontier, that?s where all the hidden connections are being made.

Live well,

Todd M. Faass?

Health Ecologist

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