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Diabetes and Acid Reflux: How Are They Linked?

Diabetes and Acid Reflux: How Are They Linked?

Is your dinner enjoyment dimmed by the threat of acid reflux scorching your esophagus after you eat? If you have frequent heartburn and have been diagnosed with acid reflux, you may be surprised to learn that this condition is also associated with Type 2 diabetes. 

At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, our board-certified bariatric surgeons treat many patients with acid reflux. We have solutions to keep acid reflux at bay. 

Why is diabetes associated with acid reflux? 

Studies have found that 40% of people with diabetes have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the severe form of acid reflux. People with diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, are even more likely to have it. 

Why are these two conditions connected in such a powerful way? 

Some drugs used for acid reflux are linked with Type 2 diabetes. Doctors frequently prescribe a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for chronic cases of acid reflux. But drugs have side effects. 

Published research studies show that taking PPIs for long periods of time can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. If you’ve been taking a PPI for more than two years, you need your blood glucose levels checked regularly to determine if you’re diabetic. 

Conversely, if you already have Type 2 diabetes, you’re more at risk for acid reflux. One characteristic of diabetes is high blood sugar. The excess blood sugar damages your body’s tissues and organs, including your gastrointestinal tract, which holds your esophagus. 

About three-quarters of diabetic patients have some problem that involves the gastrointestinal tract, whether it’s acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea.  

Obesity: major risk factor for diabetes and acid reflux

Sometimes lifestyle and habits have a lot to do with physical illness. It’s well-known by now that the Western diet — a lot of red meat, fried foods, and soft drinks — is associated with metabolic syndrome, putting you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

The Western diet is also a major factor in the rise of obesity in the United States. In addition, if you’re overweight, you’re 50% more likely to have acid reflux than those at a normal weight. If you’re obese, you’re 200% more likely to have it. 

Treatment for acid reflux 

If you’re obese and are committed to losing weight, weight loss surgery is an option to improve your acid reflux. If coughing or vomiting from acid reflux has caused a hiatal hernia, we can repair the hernia. 

If your acid reflux won’t go away, call one of our Houston, Texas, offices or book an appointment online today.

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