Two new studies presented at the 72nd American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting highlighted the sometimes confusing connections between gastroesophageal reflux and seemingly unrelated problems such as severe chest pain and chronic cough.
In one experiment, researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston studied patients in emergency rooms who complained of serious chest pain. Researchers found that more women than men in their study were being rushed to the emergency room with chest pain that was not related to the heart.
In fact, abnormal reflux of acid that would fit the diagnosis of acid reflux disease was seen in 57 percent of the patients. This study also highlighted the fact that men have more upright reflux, while women experience both reflux during sleep and while they are awake.
Chronic cough was also considered at this year's annual gastroenterology meeting. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina recognize that GERD is one of the most common causes of chronic cough.
Their study considered the effectiveness of a new device called MII-pH that can detect reflux without depending on the acidity of the stomach contents. Unlike conventional pH monitoring, which measures acidity, this new technique can detect non-acid reflux. One of the important outcomes of this study may be a more common understanding that a person can have reflux, but the condition may go undetected with conventional methods if the reflux is non-acidic.
The fact that GERD can cause severe chest pain and chronic cough is not breaking news to most of us who are either living with or caring for someone with gastroesophageal reflux disease. However, the more support and acknowledgement studies like these receive, the more the general public and medical community will be able to support you and those you love.
To see a list of acid reflux symptoms, click here.