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When a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease, knowing how to balance taking care of them and yourself can be difficult. This page provides helpful resources for caregivers including guides on helping your loved one quit smoking and how to take time out of your day for yourself.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you may have a lot of questions. This page is a great resource for learning about all aspects of the disease including talking to your doctor, flare-up signs and symptoms, and disease management.

If you have a chronic lung disease, you know that staying healthy plays an important part in managing your symptoms and overall well-being. The right exercise methods, diet, and other techniques can help you stay healthy with chronic lung disease and get you back to doing the things you love.

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Managing GERD When You're Living With COPD

By Do More With Oxygen

Mon, Sep 23, 2013

Managing GERD with COPDIt’s not uncommon to be diagnosed with GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, while living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In fact, according to the COPD Foundation, nearly 50 percent of COPD patients are thought to have GERD, as well.

If this is the case for you, it’s important to stay on top of both conditions to enjoy a high quality of life. Here’s what you need to know.

The Connection Between GERD and COPD

The COPD Foundation identifies GERD as a digestive disorder. Your COPD makes you prone to developing GERD because you tend to trap air in your chest when you breathe. This increases pressure on your abdomen, leading to gastric reflux.

In addition, a side effect from COPD medications may decrease the effectiveness of the lower esophageal sphincter. When this valve weakens, acid and food from the stomach can make its way up the esophagus. Some of this acid can even make its way into your lungs, creating more irritation.

GERD May Increase COPD Flare-ups

MedPage Today identifies several aspects of COPD that are worsened by the acid reflux that comes with GERD:

  • Exacerbations occur twice as often and more severely. In a study performed by the University of Florida, COPD patients with GERD had 3.2 flare-ups per year compared to 1.6 flare-ups among those without GERD.
  • Hospitalizations, emergency room visits and antibiotic use are all higher among COPD patients with GERD.

Managing GERD While Living With COPD

The COPD Foundation points out that neither of these conditions is curable, but there are many things you can do to reduce GERD symptoms to prevent further complications with your COPD. Try these three easy steps, in addition to taking the appropriate prescribed medication:

  • Raise the head of your bed two inches.
  • Don’t eat anything for three hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Avoid food that stimulates acid reflux, such as spicy food, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol.

If you have severe GERD and it’s affecting your quality of life, talk to your doctor about treatment for your condition. In the meantime, learn more about living with COPD by downloading the free guide, "Understanding COPD: A Glossary of 15 Commonly Used Terms."

Glossary of common COPD terms

Topics: oxygen safety, staying healthy with copd, COPD

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