Do you ever notice a connection between what you eat and when your asthma kicks in? If so, you could be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is also called GERD or acid reflux. Doctors today seem to recognize a strong link between asthma and reflux, making it important to treat both conditions when they occur hand-in-hand, in order to relieve discomfort and also to help you to breathe better.

Acid Reflux Symptoms

The latest research reveals that about three quarters of people who suffer from asthma also have frequent bouts of acid reflux symptoms as well.

Acid reflux is a condition where a valve that normally keeps stomach acid contained in the stomach becomes weak and allows the acid to move backward into the esophagus. When this occurs, you could experience a host of discomforts, including:

1. Heartburn

2. Excessive saliva

3. Regurgitation or food coming back into mouth shortly after swallowing it

4. Sore throat or hoarseness

5. Inflamed gums

6. Chest pain

7. Bad breath

But while many of these symptoms are difficult to miss, some experts say that many people with asthma and acid reflux don't have any of these common symptoms, making it more of a challenge to identify this condition.

The Asthma and Reflux Connection

While doctors aren't sure of exactly how asthma and reflux are related, there are several possible explanations. Some experts believe that the asthma and/or certain asthma medications may actually cause the acid reflux symptoms. However, in other patients, it could be the acid reflux that is triggering the asthma instead, since some people find that asthma gets better when acid reflux is treated.

Many doctors look to acid reflux symptoms as a possible cause of asthma when the following factors exist:

1. Asthma doesn't begin until you are an adult

2. Asthma seems to come on or worsen after you eat, exercise or lie down

3. Asthma medications don't seem to relieve asthma symptoms

What You Can Do

If you think acid reflux symptoms are making your asthma worse, you can try taking antacids that you can buy in most drug stores. If these aren't strong enough for your reflux, your doctor may want to prescribe an acid-blocking medication to see if this makes a difference. In more severe cases, though, surgical treatment may be an effective approach to help cure the asthma and reflux connection.

When acid reflux is left untreated, in addition to worsening asthma symptoms, it can also cause serious damage to your esophagus and in extreme cases, can lead increase the risk of esophagus cancer.