GERD is a condition when stomach acid seeps into the oesophagus, the tube leading from the throat to the stomach, causing a variety of symptoms including heartburn, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth and regurgitation.
According to new research, it appears that obesity raises the risk of GERD and two other conditions erosive oesophagitis and cancer of the oesophagus.
As BMI rises, so does GERD symptoms
In this new study, researchers from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, in the US, conducted an extensive review of nine previous research reports and found that eight studies indicated that having a high BMI (body mass index a measure of body fat) increased symptoms of GERD.
Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index or BMI between 25 and 29.9 and obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher. This number is determined by using weight and height. If youd like to find out what your BMI is, the NHS have an interactive BMI calculator on their website.
The researchers wrote that The association between BMI and GERD complications was markedly consistent.
They found that being overweight increased the odds of having GERD symptoms by 50 percent when compared to having a normal weight. Being obese was found to have doubled the odds.
Six of the nine studies investigated the association between obesity and erosive oesophagitis inflammation to the lining of the oesophagus. The results demonstrated a 76 percent increased risk for this condition.
The researchers also found that in seven studies of the studies, results showed a twofold increase in the risk of oesophageal cancer among people who were overweight or heavier.
Lower your BMI
So how does obesity make GERD more likely? The researchers arent sure.
They mentioned a few theories, including excess body fat compressing the stomach, the effects of food, and hernias. But they didnt find evidence that settled the matter.
The researchers suggest that the GERD-obesity link needs more research.
Meanwhile, they offer this advice: It is prudent to counsel all overweight patients who present with GERD-related diseases that weight loss may help improve symptoms.
So if you are overweight, you could be at risk for developing GERD. Lowering your BMI has a number of other positive benefits. Research has shown that people within a certain range of body size tend to live the longest and enjoy the best health. You can lower your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease and can help relieve pain from arthritis.
If you are interested in losing weight, speak to your doctor. They will be able to help you decide on a healthy programme.