One of the most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night choking on acid because you’ve inhaled it and can’t breathe? You try taking in a breath and all you get is a burning in your throat and lungs. You try to expel it but it takes many tries and coughing, burning, burning. You panic, thinking, “Am I going to die?” You possibly could if you hadn’t woken up! HOW DOES OSA CAUSE GERD?
During the cessations of breathing the body will increase its efforts to take in air. Abdominal contractions are exaggerated and increase until breathing resumes. The contractions squeeze the stomach and force acid up the esophagus. The efforts to breathe also increase a negative pressure in the esophagus which also pull up acid.
Secondary effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, resulting from the GERD, are esophagus and larynx damage, aspiration pneumonia, permanent lung damage, tooth erosion, and tooth sensitivity.
GERD CAN EAT YOU AWAY GERD, or Acid Reflux, is a digestive disorder affecting the lower or reflux esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle connecting the esophagus and stomach. The LES is a high-pressure zone that acts as a barrier to protect the esophagus against the back flow of gastric acid from the stomach. Normally, the LES works something like a dam, opening to allow food to pass into the stomach and closing to keep food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES relaxes when it shouldn’t or becomes weak, allowing contents of the stomach to flow up into the esophagus. Overweight people and pregnant women may suffer more heartburn episodes because increased abdominal pressure contributes to reflux. Pregnant women are also more prone to heartburn because the LES relaxes in response to the high levels of the hormone progesterone that occur with pregnancy. Generally, though, GERD is uncommon in people under age 40. Smoking can irritate the entire GI tract. Frequent sucking on a cigarette causes air to be swallowed, increasing stomach pressure and encouraging reflux. Smoking sometimes also relaxes the LES muscle.