Asthma Boy

Don’t forget an antacid for asthma

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ASTHMA is a relatively common lung problem, usually caused by allergies, heavy exercise or chemical exposure in the workplace.

But Dr Alexei Gonzalez Estrada, a Mayo Clinic allergy and immunology specialist, says most people don’t realise heartburn could be making their asthma worse.

Think of your lungs and airway as an upside-down tree.

“And what happens is you have inflammation of your airway tree, Dr Gonzalez Estrada says. “And what happens is it gets full of gunk, and that’s when people get wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness.”

That’s asthma.

“Heartburn can also irritate the airway, and you’re never going to catch your asthma if you don’t treat your heartburn symptoms, as well,” Dr Gonzalez Estrada says.

Heartburn is one of the first things he asks patients about when they come in for asthma treatment. He says there are two theories about why heartburn worsens asthma symptoms.

“There’s … the theory that (acid) actually goes all the way up into your throat, and it goes into your airway and irritates your airways,” he says. “Or the other theory that (acid) actually irritates your nerves, which are connected to the same nerves that are in charge of you having coughing.”

So the next time your asthma acts up, ask your health care provider if heartburn could be the real problem. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service


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Antacids During Pregnancy and Asthma

Using antacids during pregnancy is linked to asthma in offspring, a systematic review of research has found.

Researchers pooled data from eight observational studies and concluded that the risk of asthma in childhood increased by 34 percent when the mother used proton pump inhibitors and by 57 percent with the use of histamine-2 receptor antagonists. The study is in Pediatrics.

P.P.I.s and H2 blockers are considered safe and effective prescription drugs for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a common complication in pregnancy. They are also available over the counter.

No observational study can establish causation, and genetic or environmental factors could explain the association. Yet even after controlling for maternal asthma, use of other drugs during pregnancy, age of the mother at birth, smoking and other variables, the association persisted.

“Further prospective clinical observational studies are required to confirm these results before recommendations on the restriction of acid-suppressive medications during pregnancy can be given,” said the senior author, Dr. Huahao Shen, a professor at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China. But, he added, the information from this study “may help clinicians and parents to use caution when deciding whether to take acid-suppressing drugs during pregnancy because of the risk of asthma in offspring.”

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