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Can Acid Reflux Trigger an Asthma Attack?

Can Acid Reflux Trigger an Asthma Attack?


Acid reflux CAN trigger an asthma attack. 

Frequently occurring and chronic acid reflux can be a leading trigger of asthma attacks.

More Info: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the throat and the stomach. When this happens, it causes the person to experience irritation and discomfort and has been known to cause the patient to have an asthma attack.

Relationship between Acid Reflux and Asthma 

Studies have shown that acid reflux triggers a person to suffer an asthma attack for two different reasons. The first reason is that people who have acid reflux may unknowingly breathe in drops of acid. When this acid reaches the patient’s lungs, it can irritate the pulmonary lining and cause the person to experience bronchial spasms. These spasms can then lead to a full blown asthma attack.

Secondly, repeated bouts of acid reflux can cause parts of the esophageal lining to be melted away by the stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus. When this lining is missing, important parts of the nerves that are connected to the lungs are exposed. When these exposed nerves are irritated by additional episodes of acid reflux, the patient’s airways can become constricted, leading to an asthma attack.

More Likely in Adulthood 

Those asthma patients whose symptoms become more pronounced at night, after eating, or after lying down for a long period of time can most likely assume that their symptoms are connected to acid reflux. Acid reflux is also suspected as being a contributing factor if the patient developed asthma after reaching adulthood.



“Asthma and Gerd.” Cleveland Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2012.

“Gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn – Complications.” University of Maryland Medical Center | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2012.

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