I have personally struggled with this.
I ran across this article and instantly knew I needed to share it. Many times we fail to look at the big picture.
Sometimes the connection between two health problems isn’t so obvious. It’s a fact, however, that majority of those suffering frequent heartburn (acid reflux / GERD) also have high blood pressure.
And it’s also a fact that treating one condition (either heartburn or high blood pressure) helps with both conditions.
But what is the connection between the two conditions and how can you kill two flies (high blood pressure and acid reflux) with one swing. That’s the subject of today’s feature article.
At first glance, hypertension and heartburn seem to be completely unrelated health problems. Hypertension is the condition of the heart and arteries; heartburn comes from our stomach and digestive system, right?
To understand the connection, you have to widen your horizon and both look at your body as whole as well as considering the underlying cause for both conditions.
First let’s look at acid reflux. It happens when the muscles above your stomach (sphincters) can’t stop the acidic fluid in your stomach from flowing up into your esophagus. The acid then irritates the esophagus causing the horrible pain.
Although you may be well aware that some food triggers heartburn and therefore consider it purely a digestive problem, over 80% of those with acid reflux report their acid reflux is worse when they’re under a lot of stress and consider that one of the main causes for their condition- and for good reason.
Here are two ways acid reflux is triggered by stress:
The First issue is blood flow. When you experience stress, your body directs the largest portion of its blood supplies for the skeletal muscles such as arms and legs. This is nature’s way of getting ready to either fly or fight once attacked by the enemy. This limits the blood flow to the intestines (including the stomach) and slows down the digestion. Your body also sends clear messages to the digestive system to slow down the digestion so no energy will be wasted on that when it’s needed for flight or fight.
Once your digestion slows down, food remains longer in the stomach and begins fermenting, causing excessive gas. The pressure pushes the undigested food as well as the stomach acid up into the esophagus.
The lack of internal blood flow also causes a weakening of the muscles that are supposed to protect the esophagus, adding to the acid flowing up more easily.
The Second way stress causes acid reflux comes down to our human nature of bad habits. When we’re experiencing a great deal of stress, people tend to increase their consumption of alcohol, tobacco and comfort food (such as fatty or sugared foods and heavily processed foods like those using white flour). These types of foods are guaranteed triggers of acid reflux. Even people who normally do not have acid reflux can trigger a bout of reflux by eating a few slices of pizza.
And as chance will have it, one of the major causes for high blood pressure is stress as well.
There are many types of stress that can cause high blood pressure: emotional, mental, sensual, physical, etc. And all these same types of stress can also cause heartburn.
One of the types of stress that’s often ignored by people is physical stress caused by health problems or pain.
It takes a tremendous amount of energy, for example, for your body to fight off the common flu. While white blood cells fight against the invading bacteria, your body releases truckloads of stress hormones into your system.
The constant pain of acid reflux will also trigger an intense release of stress hormones. Your body doesn’t care where the pain comes from. It doesn’t matter if you were hit in the head with a bottle or if acid is flowing into your esophagus. Pain is pain- and to conquer the pain your body enters the same fight or flight reaction described above. A natural result is that your body must be loaded with stress hormones.
And one of the first automatic responses from your body when loaded with stress hormones is to raise the blood pressure. Therefore, long lasting stress of any kind causes chronic high blood pressure, which triggers more stress hormones to be released that then cause higher blood pressure as well as increased acid reflux. A chronic health circle has been created.
So there you have it, black and white. Acid reflux can worsen high blood pressure and hypertension can worsen acid reflux.
I originally ran across this article, by Jun 26, 2012, at https://goo.gl/n8AqJJ|