Increasing cases of obesity are becoming a pressing public health concern around the globe. It is coinciding with an increase in gastrointestinal disorders, including hyperacidity. While hyperacidity has traditionally been associated with factors such as diet and stress, emerging evidence indicates that obesity plays a significant role in exacerbating the symptoms and severity of this condition. Understanding the mechanisms by which obesity contributes to hyperacidity is crucial for effective management and prevention.
The convergence of obesity and hyperacidity stems from various mechanisms, some of which are physiological, while others are lifestyle related. It is crucial to understand the ways in which obesity could lead to hyperacidity and take appropriate actions to manage both conditions.
Does obesity increase the risk of hyperacidity?
Obesity is a bigger epidemic than people realise. It can lead to several health problems, including hyperacidity. For the uninitiated, hyperacidity, also known as acid reflux or acid indigestion, is a condition characterised by an excessive production of stomach acid. It occurs when the acid from the stomach flows back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and irritation. Let us understand the link between obesity and hyperacidity:
1. Changes in hormonal levels
When a person is obese, the levels of certain hormones produced by the fat cells become imbalanced. Normal levels of the hormones get disturbed as our body starts storing more fat than usual.
2. Poor dietary habits
People who have poor eating habits such as consuming high-fat meals, big portion sizes, and foods that are acidic or spicy, can struggle with obesity in the long run. These dietary decisions can cause acid reflux and hyperacidity directly. Obesity is also caused due to overeating and eating just before night. This might make acid reflux symptoms worse.
3. Increase in abdominal pressure
An obese person has extra weight around their belly or abdominal area. This excess weight puts pressure on the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – a muscular valve that normally keeps stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. The abdominal pressure weakens and disrupts the system leading to increased acidity in the stomach.
4. Slowing down the process of gastronomical activities
Obesity can also contribute to delayed gastric emptying, which means that the stomach takes longer than usual to empty its contents into the small intestine. When a person is obese, the excess fat in the abdominal area can put pressure on the stomach and affect its normal functioning. Obesity lead to slower digestion and delayed emptying of the stomach. Obese people may experience symptoms such as bloating, feelings of fullness, and discomfort after meals. This delay in gastric emptying can impact overall nutrient absorption and metabolism.
5. Inflammation in the digestive system
Obesity can contribute to both inflammation and hyperacidity in the digestive system. Excess body weight, particularly in the abdominal area, can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body, including the digestive organs. This inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system and contribute to increased production of stomach acid.
How to manage hyperacidity?
Managing hyperacidity and preventing indigestion is not a big problem. But a sedentary lifestyle along with bad eating habits can aggravate the problem. So, making certain dietary and lifestyle choices may help you:
- Making dietary and lifestyle changes in your diet can be beneficial.
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals can prevent overeating and reduce the chances of acid reflux.
- Identifying and avoiding trigger foods such as spicy, fatty, and acidic items.
- Eating a high-fibre diet.
- Include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, aid digestion and minimise constipation.
- Drink more water and limit caffeine intake.
- Avoid eating late at night or snacking at odd times.
- Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and a balanced diet.
- Practice management techniques to ward off stress.
- Quit smoking. are all important lifestyle modifications that can alleviate hyperacidity symptoms.
The intricate relationship between obesity and hyperacidity underscores the need to address both conditions comprehensively. Understanding how obesity contributes to hyperacidity helps individuals to make informed decisions, adopt preventive measures, and seek appropriate medical guidance. By implementing management techniques such as dietary modifications, regular exercise, and lifestyle adjustments, individuals can effectively mitigate the impact of hyperacidity and improve their overall digestive health.