Most of the time, acid reflux is caused by the food we eat, being overweight, or smoking.
A new study in the journal Frontiers in Public Health identified a completely different lifestyle factor that drastically contributes to acid reflux.
Fortunately, it’s easy to eliminate the effect of this lifestyle factor and therefore get rid of your acid reflux.
The researchers used information from 262,722 people collected by the UK Biobank population cohort who didn’t have acid reflux or related stomach issues at the beginning of the data collection period.
They used a special kind of statistical model called a “Cox model” to see how shift work and acid reflux were connected and took into account other things that might affect the results, such as age, gender, and lifestyle.
What Did the Study Find?
People who work shifts have a 10% greater risk of getting acid reflux than people who don’t work shifts.
That’s not the whole story. The researchers also looked at factors that might cause this greater risk, called “mediators.” They found that the increased risk was caused by various things:
1. Approximately 25.7% of the increased risk was because of changes in sleep patterns caused by shift work.
2. Approximately 16.8% was because of unhealthy behaviors, such as not eating well or not exercising.
3. Approximately 20.2% was because shift workers might feel more down or depressed.
4. Approximately 13.3% was because of other long-term health conditions.
5. Approximately 17.6% was because of changes in the body that might happen with shift work.
When the researchers took all these factors into account, the extra risk of developing acid reflux for shift workers largely disappeared.
Therefore, this study shows that shift workers may have a higher risk of developing acid reflux, but this risk seems to be caused by things such as poor sleep, unhealthy habits, low mood, and other health conditions. The connection between shift work and acid reflux was reduced by 71.5% when all these factors were considered.
This is good news for shift workers because it means that if they can change these factors, they don’t have to worry about a higher risk of developing acid reflux.