Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux is a common medical condition that causes a person to experience a burning sensation called heartburn that occurs in the lower chest area. In the United States, acid reflux affects at least 60 million people at least once a month and at least 15 million people each day.

In the elderly, acid reflux is the most commonly diagnosed upper gastrointestinal disorder with one-fourth of people over 75 taking medicine to treat heartburn. The following four reasons explain why heartburn worsens as people get older:

1. Aging Muscles

Diagram of stomach and where the esophageal sphincter opening is.
How the Sphincter works

The esophageal sphincter manages the opening between your esophagus and your stomach. Usually, it remains closed and only opens when you swallow food. As you get older, its function weakens and stops functioning properly.

As you age, your muscles weaken, including your esophageal sphincter, which prevents you from experiencing heartburn. When you eat, food goes down your throat and through your esophagus and into your stomach.

2. Weight Gain

Most seniors are obese or overweight, which results in a weakened sphincter. For this reason, the risk and severity of heartburn increase for people who carry around extra weight.

3. Medications

The older you get, the more health issues you experience. To alleviate those health issues, doctors may prescribe you a variety of medications. For instance, some antidepressants and blood pressure medications can cause heartburn. If you are overweight and on certain medications, your risk of experiencing heartburn increases.

4. Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia occurs in the upper part of your stomach, which pushes up into your chest cavity. If you have a large hiatal hernia, it can increase your risk of developing heartburn.

Are you increasing heartburn?

Some of the common symptoms of heartburn include:

Image of man griping stomach as if in pain
Ohhh my heartburn!
  • Dry, constant cough
  • Wheezing
  • Recurrent pneumonia and asthma
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Throat problems, such as hoarseness, soreness, or laryngitis
  • Difficulty swallowing food or experiencing pain when swallowing food
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Dental erosion

What can you do to treat acid reflux?

You can control your diet and take medication to relieve heartburn. Along with doing that, you can take other measures to treat and prevent heartburn. One popular way to treat and prevent heartburns are bed risers.

How can a bed riser help you with acid reflux?

Image of several peoples hands on a table discussing the results of their research
And the research says…

Research on the connection between bed risers and acid reflux has concluded that elevating the head of the bed by 8 inches can decrease the sphincter’s exposure to acid and clear the acid from your esophagus. Another study reported that raising the head of the bed about 8” to 11” can reduce the sphincter’s exposure to acid while improving the symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn and regurgitation.

The participants who reported experiencing relief from acid reflux were not taking any medications to alleviate heartburn. The researchers concluded that bed risers should be part of the treatment plan for people diagnosed with acid reflux.

Things to Consider When Buying a Bed Riser for Acid Reflux

There are a few factors you need to consider before buying a bed riser. Here is what you should consider:

1. Material

Bed risers are made from plastic, metal, and wood. Solid wood bed risers offer a stable foundation and make it impossible for the bed to collapse. Plastic bed risers are more affordable than others. If you are going with a plastic bed riser, ensure you buy a heavy-duty plastic one to avoid the risk of the bed collapsing under the weight. Metal bed risers are durable and can withstand the weight of the person on the bed without the risk of collapse.

2. Size

Image of a measuring tape laid out as if measuring something
Measure for dimensions

Measure the dimensions of your beds before you buy a bed riser. Most of these bed risers allow the caster or leg to sit down into a well, whereas others require you to remove the current feet and wheels to screw a bed riser to each side of the bed. Both are good options, but you can choose a bed riser depending on the ease of installation.

3. Height

Do not choose a 3” non-stackable bed riser if you want an 8” bed riser. The higher you elevate your bed, the more unstable it becomes. Therefore, you need to consider the stability of the bed if you require more height.

4. Number

Most bed risers come in a set of four. You do not need more than four-bed risers to place under the bed to elevate it unless you have a queen or king bed with center supports. If your bed is one of these sizes, you need 6 or more bed risers for center support.

5. Weight Capacity

When you are searching for a bed riser, understand how much weight the bed riser can support. For instance, compare the weight the bed riser can support against the weight of the bed plus your weight. Often, the manufacturer will tell you the weight a single bed riser can support or the weight the entire set of bed risers can support.

Image of someone making a decision for which way to choose
Which one to choose?

What Are the Best Bed Risers for Acid Reflux?

Here out our suggestions for the best bed risers for acid reflux:

1. Slipstick CB656 5 Inch Incline Bed Risers

Slipstick CB656 5 Inch Incline Bed Risers is a set of two-bed risers and two non-slip rubber protector pads. The bed riser can add 5” of height to your bed to alleviate the symptoms of medical conditions, such as acid reflux.

You can place the bed risers under the bed’s wheels or posts from 1-1/4 inches to 3 inches in diameter. You will receive 2 heavy-duty and durable bed risers along with two free gripping protectors, to place on the other two legs of your bed.

White in color, the bed riser’s rubberized foundation offers increased stability and protects floor surfaces, such as carpet, tile, and wooden floors from damage. Each supporter cone supports 500 pounds of weight, while the set of 2 supporter cones support 1,000 pounds of weight.

Smiley Face vs Sad face
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Made from durable material
  • Can support weight up to 1,000 pounds
  • Will not damage the flooring
  • Comes with a 5-year free replacement warranty and commercial 1-year warranty
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Way too high
  • Not for king-sized beds
  • Not for beds with square legs
  • Only available in one size

Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers

Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers, made from polypropylene, are available in two colors, white and black, and in three different sizes, 8”, 5”, and 3”. You will receive four large bed risers and four small bed risers, which can support up to 1,300 pounds. They will not scratch or dent your floor. You can easily and securely place the bed risers on your bed.

By lifting the bed, you can also create underneath storage space. The bed risers are recommended for people with acid reflux, backaches, and joint pain. You can use the large and small bed risers together, stacking them on top of each other or you can use them alone. The manufacturer has made the bed risers from heavy-duty plastic to ensure they last longer and does not succumb to pressure.

Smiley Face vs Sad face
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Made from heavy-duty plastics
  • Can support weight up to 1,300 pounds
  • Comes with four small and four large bed risers
  • Choose from three different sizes, 3”, 5”, and 8”
  • Select from two colors, black or white
  • Creates extra storage space under the bed
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Even though it is made of plastic, chances of breaking under pressure are still high
  • No warranty

The Wellness Wedge Your Mattress Elevation Solution

The Wellness Wedge Your Mattress Elevation Solution is a two-pack plastic wedge that you can place under your mattress. This allows you to sleep on your pillow instead of sleeping on an uncomfortable foam wedge. Since the wedges are inter-lockable, you can stack or place them side by side.

They provide you with around 2 1/2” of additional height when you place them next to each other or 5” when you stack them together. The wedges are free of bacteria, do not need to be washed, and do not release any chemical odors. Made in the United States, the wedges are made from plastic and you can recycle them.

Pros

The good and the bad
Pros and Cons
  • Easy to install
  • Offer extended comfort when placed next to each other
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Since they are only 3”, they do not work with thick mattresses
  • No warranty

Why Should You Purchase Bed Risers for Acid Reflux?

Image of a woman sleeping peacefully.
A woman sleeping peacefully

You should purchase bed risers for acid reflux because research indicates that they can help in reducing its symptoms. You can invest in either wooden or plastic bed risers to elevate the head of your bed or you can buy wedges to place between the mattress and box spring or on your mattress under your bedsheets.

Whichever bed riser you choose, just ensure it can offer you proper elevation, is made from durable and long-lasting material and comes with a warranty in case you do not like it and need to return it. If you have acid reflux, buying a bed riser may be in your best health interest.   May your sleep be the best ever!

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It had finally arrived. We were moved into a small retirement community. After the pain in my hips subsided, and my body revived from proper rest, I was faced with assessing my future. Not old enough to retire and not willing to give up my freedom I embarked on this new adventure: Helping Seniors. After all, I could learn a lot by helping this new age group I belonged to. Thus “Sensible Senior Living” was founded. It is my desire to help others enjoy those “golden years” we are now living in. Enjoy the site and most of all enjoy each and every day you have. In each of you is wisdom, insight and vitality that others can benefit from. You are no less valuable, you’re simply limited in your physical ability to administer that value. Do what you can, be who you are, know your limitations. and live on.

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