GERD breathing problems can lead to feelings of suffocation and serious lung issues.
Ever feel that the breathing problems from GERD could suffocate you to death?
Sorry to say, but the very medical condition that is so often presented with amusement in TV commercials can actually cause very serious problems involving breathing that, if not managed properly, can be life-threatening.
This doesn’t mean that every time you develop heartburn or some other milder symptom of GERD, you should panic and grab the phone in preparation of dialing 9-1-1.
But a chronic GERD sufferer needs to be well-aware of just what acid reflux disease is capable of.
Many patients already know that acid reflux can reach the throat, causing breathing problems—and in some cases, a suffocating feeling.
“The most feared complication of esophageal problems is aspiration, the passage of gastric contents into the lungs,” begins Larry Good, MD, a gastroenterologist who’s been in practice for 40+ years, with a private practice in Lynbrook, NY, and is affiliated with Concierge Choice Physicians, a leading provider of personalized care in the U.S.
Dr. Good explains, “This can cause severe lung injury. Severe, chronic reflux can cause a variety of upper airway and lung problems including sore throat, hoarse voice, voice fatigue, laryngeal injury, cough, pneumonia and lung abscess.
“These can contribute to many breathing problems including asthma and worsening of COPD.”
COPD is not actually caused by GERD, but what Dr. Good is saying is that severe, chronic reflux can aggravate pre-existing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
If you’re familiar with “LPR” – laryngopharyngeal reflux – then you know that the sensation of difficulty breathing can be a symptom.
However, you won’t literally suffocate to death right on the spot from LPR or from the GERD that affects structures below the throat.
So despite all the serious possible fallouts of GERD, such as a lung abscess or pneumonia, it’s not something that’s going to one day strangle and suffocate you while you’re sleeping or eating and kill you right then and there.