A man holds his throat with an inflamed esophagus

Navigating the Impact of GERD on COPD

According to Google.com, GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Heartburn is the main symptom, but it also affects swallowing and causes food to get stuck in the esophagus.

When you have COPD, it can affect your breathing, too.

Communicating COPD comorbidities with your doctor

The one thing we know about COPD is that it comes with various comorbidities.  Heart failure, sleep disorders, and depression, to name a few.

Every day the medical news changes, and other illnesses or diseases are added to the queue. Sometimes doctors don’t see these sides of COPD as important.

It is up to us to tell them just how important and severe they are. If we don’t ask, they won’t tell.

Not asking about my GERD diagnosis

A few weeks ago, I was having my thyroid checked out by an ENT specialist. He put a cord down my nose, and he casually said that I had GERD.

I had heard of GERD before but had never been tested for it. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, and he didn’t say anything else about it, so I let it go.

That is always a big mistake. I had him in my sights, and I should have asked more about it and how to treat it when I had the opportunity to do so.

Understanding the significance of my GERD

A few weeks passed before I understood the importance of what was said at that appointment. After a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, my all-time favorite, I was suffering miserably.

My breathing was labored, and I was seriously on my way to the hospital emergency room when I remembered what my ENT told me. “You have GERD.” Now, it all made sense.

Adjusting my diet

Once I was diagnosed, I soon realized that my heavy eating days were over. I found and always advocated for smaller meals at one time and stretching meals over a few hours.

It worked for me for the most part, but sometimes, despite myself, it got the best of me.

I was very careful, especially when eating out at restaurants with heavier foods, that my portions were kept small, and I took my time eating. Treating it as a common bloat for the past seven years,  I was just putting it down to simply eating too much at one time.

I didn’t even think to talk to my doctor about it, but this time when I couldn’t breathe, it all began to make sense.

Finding relief

The thing about reflux and heartburn is that it craves water, so much water that it further promotes bloat, and that causes more problems with breathing. I spoke with my pharmacist and asked him for a medicine review.

He made an appointment, and we sat down face to face. He explained about my new meds and how to take them. We chatted about GERD, and he advised a treatment that works like heaven for me.

Do you have GERD? What is your story?

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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