Obesity has devastating effects on every organ system of our body. Heart, liver, and brain are the most affected organs, but the function of other body organs and systems is also very much disturbed by excessive weight. The digestive system remains permanently sick in obese people, and they often complain of heartburn, dyspepsia, raw water coming in the mouth, fullness after meals and many other issues. All these symptoms constitute acid reflux disease which means that acidic secretions of stomach regurgitate into the esophagus.
Acid reflux disease is one of the commonest problems in obesity, but it should not be treated casually. Research has shown that acid reflux if persists for longer times may result in ulcers as well as chronic inflammation at gastro-esophageal junction. If this disease is not given attention in time and acid reflux goes on occurring, result in esophageal cancer with poor outcome. Acid reflux disease is particularly prevalent in morbidly obese persons having body mass index more than 40 kilograms per meter square.
How Obesity Increases Chances of Acid Reflux?
Some factors are responsible for acid reflux in obesity some of the standard explanations are given below:
- Obese persons have more fat in the abdominal cavity that restricts normal emptying of stomach contents.
- Obesity slows down the motility of stomach and intestines that result in the slow exit of food from the stomach. This is the reason; obese people feel fullness sensation after taking meal and regurgitation of acid occurs when people bend down.
- Another factor that is responsible for acid-reflux disease in obesity is reduced tone of lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter present at gastro-esophageal junction prevents acidic secretions of the stomach from coming into the esophagus. When this sphincter is not tightly closed (as in the case of obesity), regurgitation of acid occurs into the esophagus causing acid reflux disease.
Precautions to Avoid Acid Reflux Disease
Due to severe complications of acid reflux disease it should be treated in time otherwise risk of esophageal cancer increases. The first and foremost important measure to avoid acid reflux disease in obesity is to lose weight. Losing weight has potential benefits for curing acid reflux disease. Losing weight is particularly challenging for people who are morbidly obese. Research has shown that bariatric surgery is the most efficient way of losing weight in morbid obesity. If the patient is severely obese, he or she should contact a dedicated bariatric surgery hospital for this necessary surgery.
Following very simple measures can help prevent acid reflux disease in obese people but the central issue of obesity should be dealt on a priority basis. Some of the other useful measures for relieving acid reflux disease are following:
- Take small meals instead of large meals
- Reduce use of soft drinks, spices, roasted dishes, coffee, tea, and alcohol
- A patient having acid reflux disease should take his dinner at least 3 hours before sleeping
- Avoid thick dressing especially around abdomen and chest