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My mother is 63 and she was recently diagnosed with Gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, but she also has asthma. I would like to know more about this GERD. What is it? Is it something dangerous? I am worried about her.

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Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD is a very common condition and around 65% of adults have suffered heartburn. Around 24% of them have had symptoms for more than 10 years. The chest discomfort and pain produced by it can be very severe. In some cases it can even mimic a heart attack when immediate emergency evaluation and treatment are required. A third of patients with asthma may have GERD as a trigger for their breathing problems. It is still not entirely known the way GERD triggers asthmatic attacks, but there are two interesting possibilities. Stomach acid moves backward into the esophagus instead of helping to digest food and move forward into the intestines, when reflux occurs. Also, the acid may trigger nerves around the esophagus, and nervous impulses then reach the lungs to cause airway narrowing. This also causes shortness of breath, pain and tightness. I am sure that your mother will be ok as long as she is under supervision of her doctor.
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