Acid Reflux Risks Factors: What to Know and What to Do

If you or someone you love suffers from constant heartburn, it’s only natural to wonder what triggered the painful symptoms.

Maybe you daily experience the burning and nausea that comes with GERD. Or perhaps someone in your family suffers from chronic acid reflux, and you’re wondering what factors increase the likelihood that you’re next.

There are several acid reflux risk factors that can lead to struggling with GERD. The good news is that you can control some of these influencers.

In this article, I’ll explain 3 lifestyle choices that increase your chances of developing acid reflux and what you can do to reduce your risk.

Smoking

Smoking can do more than damage your lungs. This destructive habit can also trigger GERD.

As WebMD explains, smoking can cause acid reflux—increasing your stomach’s acid production and hindering your lower esophageal sphincter muscle in addition to other problems.

The only solution to escaping these complications is to avoid smoking altogether. As you work to replace your nicotine habit with healthy choices, focus on the digestive benefits you will gain.

In 2016, PLOS ONE released a research study examining individuals who had quit cigarette use. The articles states that 43.9% of the patients who stopped smoking saw their GERD improve.

Removing this risk factor from your life allows you to experience an opportunity for acid reflux relief.

Obesity and Poor Diet

It’s no secret that obesity, in conjunction with a poor diet, can lead to a number of health problems. If you’re a GERD sufferer, you should also know that obesity is one of the acid reflux risk factors you can eliminate from your life.

According to an article published by the Obesity Action Coalition

Studies have shown that weight gain and an increase in the size of one’s belly may either cause or worsen this condition [acid reflux].

However, as the article goes on to explain, losing weight can help you turn back your GERD symptoms.

If you struggle with obesity caused by a poor diet, there are some simple steps you can take to shift your life onto a healthier path. Here are a few of my personal recommendations below:

#1 Avoid processed foods. Prepared foods can be high in sugar, salt, and other harmful chemicals and additives. To avoid damaging health and gaining weight, it’s important that you cook your own meals or eat prepared foods with ingredients you know are healthy.

#2 Avoid inflammatory foods. Even if you cook your own meals, you can still eat foods that cause inflammation. Try to avoid frying your food, using white flour, and adding sugar to your diet. Opt instead for inflammation-reducing vegetables and fruits.

#3 Increase your activity. Weight loss will be difficult unless you take steps to be more active. It doesn’t have to be complicated: begin focusing on simple exercises, such as walking, to start shedding pounds.

Medications

Medication is one of the acid reflux risk factors you may be unaware of. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of pills that can create GERD, such as…

  • Osteoporosis medication (bisphosphonates).
  • Pain medications (ibuprofen and aspirin).
  •  Quinidine.
  •  Antibiotics.

While you may be unable to skip taking medication like quinidine, you can control your intake of ibuprofen or antibiotics. Don’t take antibiotics unless they are necessary. Skip those inflammatory foods to avoid the aches that lead to pain medication.

Healing acid reflux—without masking your symptoms with PPIs, H2 blockers, and antacids—can mean more than putting down the cigarette or getting on the treadmill.

Often, the key to ending acid reflux is getting to the bottom of your health issues.

Join the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program to gain the knowledge, tools, and support you need for restoring your health and easing your GERD.