GERD and pneumonia risk

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Recent studies reveal that people who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) may be at greater risk for contracting pneumonia if they use two widely-prescribed medications. The two popular medications include proton pump inhibitors and H2-receptor blockers. Well-known drugs such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Pepcid and Zantac all fall under these two forms of medication.

One study conducted by South Korean researchers included an analysis of 31 studies from across the globe and suggested that sufferers of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) who took the two forms of medication in question were 25% more likely to develop pneumonia. Other studies revealed that a high percentage of those who contracted pneumonia were in the hospital setting and more prone to the illness due to their location. Statistics reveal that hospital patients are more prone to pneumonia.

Risks over all were minimal, equating to about 25 cases for every 1,000 GERD patients taking the medications. Researchers also suggest that it is not clear from the studies that the medications are solely to blame as those with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) could be more prone to pneumonia due to acid backup getting sucked into airways.

GERD sufferers should be aware of the potential negative effects of drugs they are taking and consult with their physician to weigh the benefits versus potential for harm. Sometimes a change in a person’s diet or lifestyle can produce the desired results.

For those who desire to avoid pharmaceutical treatments, experts suggest such tactics as avoiding foods that are prone to cause heartburn, eat small meals at more frequent intervals and cease smoking. Some over-the-counter options can also be considered for temporary relief of exacerbated symptoms.

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