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  • Recently diagnosed with Severe Acid Reflux

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    Old 11-14-2010, 04:25 PM   #1
    tru2mlf
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    Question Recently diagnosed with Severe Acid Reflux

    I have recently been diagnosed with severe acid reflux and though I don't constantly feel a burning sensation, I do have difficulty breathing. I feel like there is constantly something in my throat. (like a spoon of pnut butter) I went to my first visit to the ENT doctor on Thursday and he prescribed me 40mg of Prilosec OTC. This has been going on for quite some time and I'm afraid that I may have let it go for far too long. In the past, I have blown it off as being lazy but most recently it got to where I would wheeze just walking across the floor in my home. At first I sought out an allergy and asthma specialist and he has diagnosed me with asthma as well as informed me that I am allergic to multiple things in my life that I have done or eaten my entire life. I'm totally confused and frustrated. The ENT doctor actually put a light with a camera on the end in my nose and down my throat to diagnose the acid reflux however the allergy doctor seems to be using me as his own guiney pig by prescribing different meds every month. Has anyone ever experienced breathing issues related to acid reflux? Is there some other test that I should persue? Again, reading and researching the web is overwhelming in that I read a document stating that acid reflux could actually damage my lungs? Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

     
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    Old 11-15-2010, 01:46 PM   #2
    MountainReader
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    Re: Recently diagnosed with Severe Acid Reflux

    I've been diagnosed with extremely severe reflux for years now. My primary symptoms are a chronic cough and difficulty breathing. I don't feel the acid, but it is irritating my lungs and throat quite frequently. It took me years to actually get the diagnosis that the acid was irritating lungs and triggering my asthma because I have environmentally triggered asthma at times as well. I also have allergies that they attributed to the throat and coughing symptoms as well so they didn't realize how much the acid was affecting that as well. I was treated by an ENT/Allergist and GI doc for years and getting some relief from treating my basic underlying symptoms for those, but it took seeing a Pulmonologist during a flare to get some additional testing done to realize the extent the acid was affecting my breathing. I not only had acid irritating my lungs, I had periods of time when I was aspirating the acid as well. Typically it takes me about 4 months of really aggressive treatment to get things to calm down. Not being able to get a good breath for so long can really really wear a person down. I know I am functioning at a much lower level when this happens. In Jan 2008, I actually had an attack so bad I almost stopped breathing and needed emergency treatment. I now carry an Epi-pen around just in case. My Pulmonologist said if I hadn't been as aggressive as I was about seeking out treatment, I would have ended up in the hospital for this. Granted, I'm a very extreme case in these regards. A couple of my specialists have said they have never heard of anyone with symptoms this bad.

    I do want you to know that there are others out there who have the same type symptoms and can get through it, even though it is miserable. I worked in conjunction with my ENT, Pulmonologist and Gastroenterologist to coordinate my treatment.

    I'm guessing your ENT diagnosed you with LPR. You might do some internet research on that. I'd recommend seeing a Pulmonologist as well. The testing I've had done that confirmed the severity of my reflux included: Manometry, 24 hr pH testing (both lower and the upper version by ResTech that measures the acid in the gaseous form), Modified Barium Swallow and Esophagram, Endoscopies, Pulmonary Function Testing, Chest x-rays and CT's. The pH testing and Barium Swallow/Esophagram showed the acid coming up and irritating my lungs and the severity of the acid. Sometimes they will recommend a sleep study as well since many people with reflux also have sleep apnea problems that are undiagnosed.

    Despite having extremely severe reflux, so far multiple Endoscopies and Lung Function Tests (when not flaring) show no permanent damage to my lungs or my esophagus. I'll keep with regular monitoring just in case, but that is good news.

    Treatment for this can be tricky. The OTC Prilosec is a good beginning, but if you have true LPR, chances are you will need something stronger to really get it under control. Most research I've done lean towards taking PPI's twice a day are most effective for LPR. I needed a combination of reflux and asthma treatment to get my breathing under control as well. There were times I tried a med for a month and it didn't work so I tried another until I found what worked best for me. My ENT is also all about medical and homeopathic options to try to help "calm" the vocal cord irritation as well.

    Good luck,
    MountainReader

     
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