Acid reflux and diabetes
Acid reflux is a persistent disease that occurs when your food duct becomes irritated from bile or stomach acid backs up into it. Is there a connection between acid reflux and diabetes? Yes there is. But first, what is acid relflux disease? This is also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). It is something that is common in people but increases with age.
How is acid reflux and diabetes related? This is something that I will discuss shortly. First, I just wanted to go over the basics of this scary, annoying, and uncomfortable condition. I’ve had indigestion before as I’m sure every human being has had at some point in their life. I will cover everything from the symptoms, avoiding, treating, and more about GERD.
Causes of acid reflux
There can be multiple factors involved that affect GERD. So what these “factors” do is help to aid in relaxing or weakening the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle which surrounds and acts as a guard to open or close an opening or tube to the openings of the stomach.
- Your diet: Eating garlic and onions, tomatoes and citrus fruits, which are acidic, spicy foods, chocolate, anything minty, fried and fatty foods drinking alcohol, coffee, energy drinks, colas and teas, just to name a few.
- Your eating habits: I think we’ve all been guilty of eating too close to bedtime, eating too fast, and overeating at meal time. Don’t eat within a few hours of bedtime to give your stomach time to empty out and time enough for the production of acid to lessen.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol especially red wine is not a good idea. There’s a higher risk that acid from your stomach may back up.
- Smoking: Never good for any part of good health especially GERD. It weakens that sphincter (muscle) and increases reflux.
- Existing medical conditions: Fast weight gain, pregnancy, diabetes (discussed later), and hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia condition is when the upper portion of your stomach extends up above your diaphragm. A hiatal hernia is caused by unrelenting straining, coughing, physical exertion, and coughing. If you are pregnant or overweight, it can make the condition worse. There’s no treatment for it and it’s much more common in folks over 50.
- Lose weight. Of course losing weight would be an issue. You have a much higher risk of acid reflux with extra weight.
- Posture. It’s important to be sitting or standing up straight. This will aid in acid and food to pass easier through the stomach and not back up into the esophagus.
Acid reflux and diabetes connection
First off GERD is becoming more common which is not good. When it comes to anything that relates to your health you get concerned and want to take care of it any way you can. Diabetes is becoming a lot more common than ever before.
You can awaken in the middle of the night with that burning feeling in your throat or your chest and it scares the heck out of you because you don’t really know what it is. Maybe you have bad or sour taste in your mouth or feel nauseous. Is your throat sore? Coughing? There could be many things going on here. I’ve had some of these symptoms after having a “rich foods” meal.
Since one third of Americans have GERD, it’s an alarming number. Treating it costs over $10 billion a year now. Here’s where diabetes and acid reflux connect. Because the facts are that the link between obesity and GERD are confirmed. The fact of the matter is that overweight people are 50% more likely to have GERD. And obese people are 200% more at risk of having GERD than folks who are at a normal weight. It just makes sense to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet a with exercise to avoid the possibility of acid reflux.
So the connection is that type 2 diabetics is a risk factor without the weight so, being overweight just increases the chances of acid reflux. There have been studies done that 40% of diabetics have GERD. It’s even more common with people who have diabetes who also have neuropathy, a nerve damage that is a complication of diabetes that again is fairly common.
Over the counter medications
Antacids: There are many well known antacid products available to help you with GERD. Some come in liquid form and help decrease some of the acid in your stomach by coating the lining of the esophagus. Providing quick acting relief and neutralizing stomach acid is what antacids like Rolaids, Tums, Mylanta, and Maalox can do. These will help reduce the GERD but not decrease inflammation of the esophagus.
Oral suspension medicines: These particular medications are used by consumers to treat diarrhea, ulcers in the intestines, throat, and stomach and treatment for indigestion and heartburn. Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate are very popular medicines for these ailments.
H-2 receptor blockers: They provide longer relief than antacids, but take longer to work so take them about thirty minutes before you eat or go to sleep at night. If you only experience mild acid reflux a couple of times a month, you can take these to help shut down the acid production in the stomach. The two popular ones are Zantac and Pepcid AC.
Anti-gas: People who experience gas and bloating when they experience heartburn can take products that can relieve these symptoms. Gas-x, Phazyme, and Beano are excellent for the treatment of these symptoms.
Caution: It’s crucial that you keep a diary on what’s going on in your particular case. What your symptoms are, how severe the complications are and how often you experience them. Keep an eye on everything and record your conditions and treatments because you don’t want GERD to be untreated.
So most folks rely on over-the-counter medications for treating their condition by themselves. It’s what all of us do anyway for every ailment unless you’re the type of person who just runs to the doctor first choice for everything. There are so many products in the drug stores that can help so many issues that make it not necessary to see the doctor unless it it is or becomes a more serious problem.
Sometimes you have to make the decision and go with your gut. (no pun intended) Some products may work and some may not. Even if you do get temporary relief, it could return and then you’re just trying to fix a problem with a “band-aid.” If you only have an occasional problem then these antacids could be your answer. But you always want to check and discuss with your doctor with whatever you do and don’t wait until GERD becomes an emergency, God forbid.
Natural remedies for acid reflux
Start with your diet. You don’t want anything with acid in it or foods that create an imbalance of bacteria in the intestinal tract and stomach and worsen the acid reflux. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always the smart choice for any diet. The old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” You may also want to add a pro-biotic supplement to your diet.
Organic Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a very common and beneficial for many things including colitis, diarrhea, upset stomach, and great for digestion and calming acid reflux.
Balancing acid levels. The first and easiest way to balance the body’s natural manufacturing of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is to increase it by changing the typical table salt that you use to a highly superior sea salt. You can use either Coarse salt or Himalayan salt. They contain many more minerals that the body requires and chloride as well.
Supplements. Melatonin is perfect as a sleeping support. There is some evidence that it may improve GERD symptoms too. Multivitamins can help protect against medications that are taken to treat acid reflux which leads to decreased amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins such as vitamin C and B12. They aid in fighting inflammation and removing toxins. By take caution as too much iron can affect your stomach.
Licorice. It’s been known to reduce symptoms of pain, belching, and bloating that relates to acid reflux. Again, take licorice in moderate amounts.
Omega 3 fatty acids. They fight inflammation of the esophagus, but may interact with any medications you take for blood thinning.
Avoid risks. Be extra careful with taking supplements and vitamins in larger dosages as there could be a conflict with medications. Excess alpha-lipoic acid may possibly increase your heartburn and make it worse than before. Stay in touch with your physician about anything you take.
Raw organic apple cider vinegar. I take this everyday twice a day because it has so many health benefits. Mix one tablespoon with water or anything you like. The taste is very bitter so I take it with diet juice. It will help your acid reflux fast.
The Pritikin diet
Developed by Nathan Pritikin in the 1970’s, it’s a high carb, low calorie, low protein diet that suggests a very low fat intake of no more than 10%. It can lower your chance of obesity, blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lessen the chances of certain types of cancer and diabetes. There are some restrictions so again, speak with your doctor if you are going to start this diet. Below is just a general list of what the diet consists of.
- Vegetables- 5 servings a day
- Fruits- 4 or more servings daily (avocados are high in fat content)
- Complex carbs- 5 or more servings a day
- Protein- up to 3 1/2 oz of meat a day
- Dairy- Two servings only of non-fat dairy products.
- Beverages- Water, coffee substitutes, or herbal tea generally.
I always believe that no mater what decisions we make in our lives that we always use common sense before we move forward. Only you know your own body and what feels right and what doesn’t so do what you “feel” is right in any health situation. But no matter what you do, always discuss anything with your doctor. Since I have diabetes and I am treating it, I talk to my doctor first if I am going to add or subtract anything from what I take daily.
Nobody knows everything but you can always learn from others. I hope that I have helped you in some way in learning more about GERD, diabetes, and general health. You’re never too old to learn something new especially when it comes to your health. Acid reflux can be avoided, controlled, and you can live a happier healthier life. I don’t like to see any one person suffer and I’m sure that you don’t either.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will respond as fast as I can. I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading!