Overcoming Co-Morbidities

  • Pay careful attention to certain associated medical problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux) and pulmonary hypertension
  • If you do have acid reflux, it is important to talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that can reduce any long-­term complications
  • It is important for you to know that it is not clear whether treating your acid reflux will slow down the fall in lung function that happens in interstitial lung disease


“Gastroesohageal reflux” disease (acid reflux) happens when stomach contents travel up into the food pipe causing irritation. Symptoms include:

  • Heartburn (a burning feeling in the center of your chest)
  • Acid or sour taste in your throat
  • Chest pain
  • Cough

Diet and lifestyle measures can reduce symptoms and complications of acid reflux, including:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding foods that cause discomfort
  • Keeping your head raised above your chest when laying down
  • Avoiding large and late meals
  • Eating your last meal of the day 3 or more hours before bedtime

Acid reflux is often treated with medications that reduce the creation of stomach acid. In severe of cases, your doctor may talk with you about surgical treatments.

Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the main artery to the lungs that makes the heart work much harder than normal. This causes the right side of the heart to become larger and strained. Symptoms include:

  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath, especially with increased activity
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Light-headedness, especially when climbing stairs or standing up
  • Swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen
  • Chest pain, especially during physical activity
  • Fainting


Pulmonary hypertension is something that your doctor will look for depending on certain signs and symptoms. It may require a special ultrasound heart test called an Echocardiogram to help with the diagnosis.

It is also often treated with medications that lower blood pressure. Various medications are available and are prescribed by your physician based on your medical condition.

For more information you can visit www.phacanada.ca