Obesity and Acid Reflux

By Justin Kaechele

Every organization from the White House to your doctor’s office identifies obesity as one of the top issues driving the cost of healthcare.

The Governor of New York outlawing “super sized” soft drinks and Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity are evidence that obesity is a large and growing concern.

Whether or not it is “Public Enemy #1” can be debated, but one thing that can’t be denied is the number of health complications that result from obesity.

Acid reflux disease, or GERD as it is also called, is one of the chronic conditions linked to obesity. With 1 in 3 adults suffering from reflux symptoms monthly and that number growing 30% every decade, acid reflux contributes significantly to the overall cost of obesity in America today.

Several research studies have found a direct correlation between increased body mass, as measured by the body mass index (BMI), and the increase of acid reflux disease.

How Obesity Causes Reflux

It is simply a matter of pressure. Similar to my last post about how an overstuffed belly full of food increases upward pressure sending stomach contents into the esophagus, excessive weight in the wall of the abdomen produces the same result.

Obesity is a risk factor for severe reflux as well as its most lethal complication, esophageal cancer. Abdominal obesity, or that “inner tube” around the waist, is indeed a factor contributing to the progression of reflux disease.

What You Can Do About It

The obvious solution to this problem is to lose weight. Ultimately reducing the size of that inner tube around your waistline will help relieve the pressure on your stomach. Less pressure on the stomach should result in decreased stomach contents refluxing into your esophagus.

Of course, how much you eat and what you eat will impact that excessive waistline. However, specific exercises designed to strengthen your lower abdomen can also help in this battle and assist in reducing pressure on the stomach.

Tips for Abdomen Targeted Weight Loss

Running is a great way to sweat out pounds, increase your metabolic rate and firm up your midsection. And along with cardio exercises, push yourself to do stomach workouts like leg-raisers and crunches to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Start small at first and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you have not worked out in while, then first focus on getting yourself into a routine and start slowly – don’t try to hit a home run in your first at-bat. Take a “base-hit” mentality and congratulate yourself on the small successes; and soon big efforts will not seem as intimidating.

Build a plan that is conducive to your lifestyle but also one that will push you as well. Remind yourself that the struggle and pain are a part of the plan and accept the fact that you will falter occasionally. However, set your resolve and let your determination win the long-term battle.

In the End…

GERD is a very serious condition and leads to complications that may affect your health and your quality of life. It is absolutely vital that we listen to the messages our bodies are sending us – these are SOS messages! So if you have the early symptoms of GERD, listen to your body and make the changes needed to ensure happy and healthy years thereafter.

For other home remedies, check out our acid reflux home remedy summary.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. William Dengler of Legato Medical.

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