Advanced COPD: GERD is Common

Elderly man using COPD inhaler

Many people have symptoms of heartburn after eating. They may experience nausea, feel as though food is coming back up the throat, or vomit. When these heartburn symptoms occur often, it can be a sign of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other GERD symptoms include sore throat, hoarseness, belching, coughing and wheezing, and trouble swallowing.

This condition is common in people with advanced COPD. It's possible to take medications that control stomach acid to help relieve the symptoms of GERD. You also need to keep an eye on your plate. Eating certain foods can bring on GERD's unpleasant symptoms. These are common culprits:

  • Fatty foods (fatty meats, fried foods)

  • Citrus fruits, tomato products, and onions

  • Coffee, tea, and sodas that contain caffeine

  • Chocolate and peppermint

  • Spicy foods

  • Beer, wine, and other types of alcohol

It's not just what you eat, but how much and when. Large meals are more likely to cause heartburn. So instead of three large meals a day, try eating three small meals and one or two snacks. Avoid lying down after eating and try not to eat within two to three hours of your bedtime. Some people affected by heartburn benefit from raising the head of their bed on 6- to 8-inch blocks. That can keep stomach acid from creeping into the esophagus.

If you're having GERD symptoms, be sure to talk with your health care provider. With the right help, you can enjoy your food again and feel your best.

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