Switching to Decaf, A First Step in Keeping a Comorbidity at Bay

Yesterday, I realize that it had been almost four years since I made a bunch of dietary changes that are really important to me managing my LPR an associated feature of my asthma. Although, there is still more research to be done on the exact relationship between asthma and LPR. LPR is laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. LPR can affect anyone. Adults with LPR often complain that the back of their throat has a bitter taste, a sensation of burning, or something stuck. Some patients have hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, throat clearing, and difficulty with the sensation of drainage from the back of the nose (post-nasal drip). Some may have difficulty breathing if the voice box is affected. Many patients with LPR do not experience heartburn.1

LPR management with diet

I honestly didn’t even know I had it, it was found on a routine ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) evaluation. I was told that I was going to need to treat it or I may have larger problems in the future and while I did not feel that it was associated with my asthma, it may have effects in the future. The relationship between asthma and LPR is still being evaluated, however, the going theories are that my excessive mucous clearing issues were a culprit in developing this but there were ways to manage it that were easy. The first step was a major dietary overhaul. There were handouts and several pages of them on the thing that I should do and avoid. No more caffeine, although I do drink decaf coffee in small quantities, this took some time to adjust to. I was initially instructed to eliminate a host of things I loved (caffeine, tomatoes, chocolate, citrus) and I love lemons. I did go a bit cold turkey under the guidance of my ENT and a nutritionist. It was challenging since I found that irritants vinegar etc. seemed to be in a lot of products. While I take pride in eating fairly locally grown items. I am a sucker for a condiment and especially love mustard on practically everything. I was going to have to figure out howe to make this work. It was a bit challenge but after about three months, my throat healed, I notice improvement from decreasing caffeine intake. I don’t have any scientific data on my decrease in caffeine but I had fewer headaches, generally felt better and I didn’t really miss it. I think some of my need for caffeine were from being dehydrated which caffeine was not helping with. I also found that taking better care of my hydration needs also helped me to feel better.

I approached the change in diet as a positive step and a measure that I could control. As many of you know when you are juggling the complexities of asthma, having one less comorbidity or condition to manage is greatly appreciated. I made myself simple daily goals, for example trying different no irritating foods and exploring different flavors.

Embarking on dietary changes may be a benefit in asthma. It is best to speak with your health care provider on specifics that will work for you. I would love to hear about your experiences managing a comorbidity in relation to your asthma or if you have dietary changes that have positively affected your asthma management.

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