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. 

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Updated: Dec 12, 2019

“What’s the big deal about snoring?” Who can sleep with the sounds of a freight train 2 feet away from your ear?

  • Spouses of snorers often have to move into separate bedrooms.

Snoring is disturbing and is a major cause of spousal alienation. It is a disruption, an annoyance, even a marriage buster, but It is more than that. It is a sign, a signal, an alarm of a very serious airway problem. Snoring is an attention-demanding WARNING SIGN of sleep dysfunction. Snoring, like pain, should sound an alert to us that there is something more serious to look for under the surface.

We continue to learn about more illnesses connected to Sleep Apnea:

Strokes, Dementia, Depression, Heart Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Daytime Fatigue, Motor Vehicle Accidents


Researchers suggested a correlation between sleep apnea and increased cancer risk of any kind. Ref: 2010 American Cancer Society Other serious ailments known to be tied to Sleep Apnea:

With an assortment of health threats like these, all Sleep Apnea related, we need to show more respect to snoring.

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Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the upper airway and is influenced by these Clinical signs:

1. constricted airway – measured by a Mallampati score *See end of list

2. large neck circumference

Over 15 inches in women; Over 16 inches in men

3. oversized and/or inflamed uvula

4. extra large tongue

5. enlarged tonsils ~ a droopy soft palate 

6. retrognathic mandibular jaw.

7. obesity 8. heavy or struggled breathing

9.Scalloped Tongue Edges -

caused by tongue forced against the teeth, gasping for breath.

10. bruxism

11. abfractions

12. obvious lack of energy 13. daytime sleepiness during dental appointment or while driving, or watching TV, etc.

14. lack of focus in children

-in 20% of ADHD victims.

15. Mallampati Classification

*MALLAMPATI CLASSIFICATION You may do this self exam in front of a mirror. If you score in Class III or IV, or if you have the conditions described above you may call me for a complementary evaluation 

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