Can Stomach Acid Raise Blood Pressure?

There is no any scientific evidence that stomach acid can raise blood pressure (BP). But some people say that their raised systolic and diastolic pressure may occur due to the gastric acid that splashes up and out of the stomach (a condition associated with some digestive problems such as heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease ‘GERD’). Is there a link between stomach acid and your BP?

When stomach acid becomes a problem?

Stomach acid is produced in the stomach. It is made by cells lining the gastric. It plays a key role in your digestion system, particularly for digestion of protein. The productions of this acid can increase when the body needs it.

But sometime, it can splash up from the stomach which then can cause problem. As mentioned above, heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are some digestive disorders associated with stomach acid.

Heartburn

Unlike the name implies, it doesn’t reflect the health of your heart. But it can cause similar symptoms of heart disease such as a burning sensation that occurs behind the breastbone (in the chest).

Actually heartburn is an irritation triggered by gastric acid that can affect the esophagus. This irritation can lead to discomfort /burning sensation in the bellow of your breastbone or upper abdomen.

How gastric acid cause irritation to the esophagus? Normally, the gastric acid should stay in the stomach.

The gravity and the mechanism of your body called LES (lower esophageal sphincter – located below the rib cage where your stomach meets your esophagus) play a key role to make sure the acid doesn’t go up. LES will open to allow foods that you eat go into your stomach, and then it closes again.

image_illustration48But there are some factors that make the acid goes up abnormally. In many cases, heartburn is triggered by the poor performance of LES. If LES doesn’t work as well as it should, there is chance for the acids to go up.

Factors that can cause too much pressure on your gastric also have an effect. These include bad habit of eating large meal (overeating), overweight /obesity, and constipation. Even many times pregnancy has an effect, in fact heartburn is pretty common in pregnant women.

Acid reflux

Medically, heartburn is described when stomach acid splashes up & out of the gastric. But when the acid reaches to the esophagus, it is now called acid reflux. Many times, the term of ‘acid reflux’ is used interchangeably with ‘heartburn’.

Even sometime doctor call heartburn (burning chest pain) as a symptom. Many times it is often used to characterize acid reflux and GERD. In other words, doctors often use heartburn as one of common symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.

GERD

Getting heartburn occasionally is commonly considered normal and not dangerous. But if it becomes chronic, this should be not ignored.

Chronic heartburn can point that there is something wrong. Sometime it can lead to a condition called GERD (more serious than acid reflux /heartburn because it can be potential to cause serious complications such as narrowing esophagus, esophageal ulcer, and even increased rate /risk of esophageal cancer).

So, does too much stomach acid raise your systolic and diastolic blood pressures?

No, it doesn’t – in fact there is still no scientific evidence to confirm the link between stomach acid and blood pressure, as noted before. If the digestive system affects blood pressure, it usually occurs when the body needs to digest the foods that you eat.

Experts only know that the systolic and diastolic pressure can increase after eating.

Systolic is commonly considered as top number of blood pressure because it reflects the pressure of blood against the blood vessels when the heart works (contracting). And diastolic pressure is the measurement of your blood pressure when your heart at rest (between beats) – that’s why it is commonly considered as the bottom number.

But the interesting thing comes from the risk factors of both problems. Some factors that can raise your risk of developing hypertension (a medical term used to call the systolic and diastolic pressures that increase higher than normal) also have contribution to cause increased risk of heartburn and GERD.

These risk factors include obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic high blood sugar (diabetes).

But the age factor affects both health problems in different way. While your risk of hypertension increases as you age, the production of stomach acid will naturally decrease as you get older.