Eight studies from the researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, US, indicated that the symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease are increased by having a high BMI or body mass index. Acid Reflux symptoms can increase by as much as 50 percent in overweight people compared to people with normal weight. Obesity is not good news at all.
It was shown in 2006 by Dr. B Jacobson, from Boston University of Medicine, USA, that digestive health is affected by excess weight. A normal weight person gaining a bit of weight, can still look fine and not be considered obese, but could still become more prone to Acid Reflux. Also a person who notices his Acid Reflux symptoms become more severe can shed a few pounds to help relieve those symptoms.
So does being overweight matter?
Imagine layers and layers of excess body fat compressing the stomach, pushing it in, localizing and trapping stomach acids in little natural enclosures in the stomach folds so formed. Then the effects of indiscriminately imbibed food, and resultant hernias. And we are still not considering the hormonal modifications going on in the body that cause your obesity, and possibly, some problems in most of your body functions, like digestion.
Twenty percent of Americans today suffer from periodic Acid Reflux disease or GERD. Acid Reflux can then interfere with daily things like eating or sleeping. Obesity is becoming an epidemic today and helps to add to this percentage. Certain cancers including cancer of the esophagus have been linked to obesity.
Obese people tend to have weaker esophageal sphincters, and they more often develop a condition related to Acid Reflux called hiatal hernia, in which the upper part of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm. Think about that. There is limited space and there is so much, to fit in. No wonder some folds become permanent hernias.
Another concern for people suffering from Acid Reflux is that research shows that even when undergoing a surgery for weight loss, Acid Reflux can still worsen. Opinions conflict over whether to treat an overweight person through surgery.
Obesity increases abdominal pressure and causes stomach contents to back into the food pipe. Obesity also contributes to slower movement and less exercise as well as loss of various muscled tones. Among those affected could be the Esophageal Sphincter.