How do other illnesses affect GERD and heartburn?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Some illnesses can increase your risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn. For example, a common condition known as a hiatal hernia can lead to heartburn and GERD. In a person with a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, which is a muscle between the stomach and the chest. Along with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the diaphragm usually keeps stomach acid and other stomach contents from coming back up into the esophagus. When the hiatal hernia interferes with the normal functioning of the diaphragm, heartburn and GERD can occur. Diabetes, asthma, connective tissue disorders, and a rare digestive disorder known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can also increase your risk of heartburn and GERD.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.