Recently, studies have shown that there is a relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and acid reflux. One particular study has found 58% - 62% of patients with sleep apnea also experience acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The team at ApneaMed has compiled all the information you need to know about the connection between GERD and OSA to ensure you receive the necessary treatment.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that causes the patient to stop breathing while they sleep. The cessation in breathing occurs because their airways become blocked by soft tissue at the back of the throat, making it difficult for air to move through the airway. This blockage often results in the individual gasping for air or snoring throughout the night — both of which are more frequently noticed by the patient’s partner rather than the individual. Those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea often experience drowsiness, headaches, and lack of concentration. If sleep apnea is suspected, the patient will undergo a sleep apnea test to determine the best form of treatment for their condition.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the individual’s lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t correctly close at the entrance to the stomach. As a result of the lower esophageal sphincter not closing all the way, acid from the stomach can work its way back up into the esophagus. This often causes heartburn, bad breath, or chest discomfort.
GERD and Sleep Apnea
Those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea experience varying pressures within their diaphragm and chest cavity which creates the ideal conditions for GERD. The individual is breathing harder because of the blocked airway and cessation in breathing, which causes reflux to flow into the esophagus. Sleep apnea treatment like positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy works to help reduce the patient’s “respiratory effort” throughout the night.
For most patients suffering from both acid reflux and sleep apnea simultaneously, CPAP therapy is often a great treatment option to alleviate the symptoms they’re experiencing.
Testing and Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, your physician can help you determine if your symptoms indicate both acid reflux and OSA — it’s possible you have GERD and don’t even know. To determine the right form of treatment, the patient will need to undergo a sleep study.
A home sleep study can be self-administered by the individual within the comfort of their own home. ApneaMed’s sleep study will be delivered to the patient, along with instructions to successfully administer the overnight sleep study. Throughout the night, the device is used to monitor the patient’s blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing and heart rates. Following the self-administered sleep test, a board-certified sleep physician will review the results to determine the right form of treatment for the individual that will also help to alleviate their GERD symptoms simultaneously.
CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which has been known to improve symptoms of acid reflux as well.
If you’re interested in a self-administered sleep apnea test from ApneaMed, contact our team to learn more.