The Surprising Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux

Unhappy,Millennial,Indian,Guy,Suffering,From,Heartburn,,Waking,Up,In The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is not known, and it can vary from patient to patient. So far, science has revealed that certain conditions pose a higher risk of developing the disorder. Among all OSA patients, up to 60% have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as “acid reflux.” 

Acid Reflux and Sleep Apnea — What Is the Connection?

GERD is a digestive disorder that causes the contents of someone’s stomach to re-enter their food pipe (esophagus). Normally, the esophagus closes to prevent acid from entering the throat. In GERD patients, acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus, resulting in symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, and even asthma symptoms.

Someone with acid reflux may experience inflammation and esophageal muscle spasms, which can block the airway and cause apneic episodes.

Living with GERD can be challenging, and for patients with OSA, the combination can be unbearable. They are frequently exhausted from poor sleep or lack of sleep, and they suffer from ongoing physical pain from their acid reflux.

Treatment Is Available

Treating both GERD and sleep apnea is vital to your health and happiness. Untreated acid reflux can permanently damage the esophagus, while untreated sleep apnea deprives your body of the sleep it needs to function properly and heal itself.

For some patients, treating their acid reflux may fix the issue entirely. For others, a combination of GERD and sleep apnea treatment is best.

Acid reflux is typically managed through dietary modifications and prescription medications. OSA treatment may include a specialized machine that keeps the airway open (CPAP device), and oral dental appliances, like customized night guards to keep the jaw forward and more space in the airway.

Get Help for Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux in Houston, TX

Dr. Hans Schleicher is a compassionate, caring dentist with over 20 years of experience. Dental sleep medicine is his sole focus and clinical specialty.

At his friendly practice in Houston, patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), obstructive sleep apnea, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) are given personalized care and unwavering support.

We understand how emotional living with OSA can be. Please reach out to our practice online or call 713-828-8587. Our team is here to help.

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