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Old 03-21-2007, 03:24 PM   #1
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GERD and Sleep Apnea

Any GERD suffers also have sleep apnea? I read some of the symptoms of sleep apnea is reflux. Was wondering if any of you have apnea along with your reflux.

 
Old 03-21-2007, 10:11 PM   #2
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

I'm not sure if I have it or not. I don't want to dish out a ton of money to find out. I do however wake up many times during the night, and I also wake up feeling like I was barely breathing. I don't remember ever really sleeping well.

 
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:15 AM   #3
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

I wake up about 3-4 times a night. Thought it was sleep apnea but my doctor says I don't fit the type and also said the reflux coming up can cause almost exact symptoms of sleep apnea. Also I don't snore.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 04:14 PM   #4
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Yes, I have sleep apnea and I have had GERD. My GERD disappeared when I was treated for the apnea over 3 years ago. My pcp had prescribed antiacids for 20+ years and I never thought a thing of it. When I met with my pulmonary sleep specialist he noted the history of antiacids in my chart and told me that it was a red flag for him indicating a sleep disorder...my primary care physician didn't recognize the signs...but the sleep specialist saw it right away.

Neddy,

Unless your doctor is a pulmonary specialist, an ent, a cardiac specialist, or an allergist, etc. and is credentialed in sleep medicine he/she is not qualified to tell you that you are not the "type". GPs get about 15 minutes of training in sleep disorders which is not enough given the prevalence of the problem (it's about as common as diabetes). Some people erroniously think that you have to snore or you have to be overweight...not so. Some of the people I know who have apnea are tiny little women who do not snore---at least that's what their husbands say,.

Alagaesia, You don't have to spend tons of money to find out if you fit the profile...there are free written "tests" that you can take that will help you determine if you are a candidate for seeing a sleep specialist. (I found these tests researching sleep apnea.) Although I had reported my symptoms to my family doc years ago, my doc did not identify my symptoms as being related to a sleep disorder. I was the one who did the research, identified the symptoms, and told my doc I wanted to see the specialist. And by golly, I was right to do so...although I had mild to moderate apnea, treatment (which was surgery and med free) made a HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE! And treatment is improving my cardiac health as well. I haven't filled a rx for acid reflux nor do I take otc's and I love and eat all food--so now I've got another problem, .

Sleep disorders are very serious as they go hand in had with diabetes, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and heart disease. But the really great news is that the treatment for sleep disorders is often surgery free and med free. Given the prevelence and the serious nature of these disorders, you have everything to gain by doing some research.

Bethsheba

Things that put one at risk for sleep apnea are heredity, tissue tone, excess throat tissue, bone structure, allergies, for starters.

Last edited by bethsheba; 03-22-2007 at 04:14 PM.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

When you refer to excess throat tissue, does that refer to the swelling in the muscle which has to be stretched? I've been having esophogal stretches for about 5 years, and I take prevacid for GERD. I have also been taking restoril for sleep for 4 years. (I have extreme insomnia.) My gp recently suggested tests for sleep apnea. He didn't think insomnia was the problem. Isn't there a definate difference between sleep apnea and insomnia?

Thanks for any input,
Trish

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alagaesia View Post
I'm not sure if I have it or not. I don't want to dish out a ton of money to find out. I do however wake up many times during the night, and I also wake up feeling like I was barely breathing. I don't remember ever really sleeping well.
I have that same feeling sometimes when I'm asleep. I feel like I'm barely breathing, especially when I sleep on my back. Sometimes as I'm falling asleep I jerk awake because I feel like I've stopped breathing for an instant.
Sometimes I get choked as I'm falling asleep or even after I've been asleep. I'm getting so I'm afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes I reflux into my lungs and I gasp for air. I go in for another scope in June and I may talk to my doc about some type of surgery. Has anyone heard about some type of Baylor procedure? I think it's a 20 minute procedure that requires no over night stay. I may be wrong but I want to do some more research on it so I feel like I know what I'm talking about when I go to my doctors. I'm on aciphex already and it has helped with my heartburn but I still have my reflux. I'm trying not to eat after 6 p.m. now to see if that helps at all.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Trish,

I didn't have the tissue or throat issues so I am not comfortable addressing that...there are some very knowledgeable people on the sleep problem boards that have extensive experience with tonsils, adenoids, tissue elasticity, bone structure, etc. and I'm sure you could learn more about those issues if you were interested.

Sleep apnea and insomina are different disorders although they can go hand in hand. I would be able to fall asleep in the evening within 3 minutes but I'd wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep until morning. At my worst I was waking up every 90 minutes---I believe I have had sleep apnea since I was a child. However, I never suspected it (most people with this disorder don't--it's someone else who points it out to them). Nor did my doctors identify my condition despite my symptoms. It was a family member who clued me in and said I stopped breathing when I slept at night. Another family member had been diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago---probably about the time they first "discovered" it so I knew what kind of research to do and the research really paid off. I just wish I didn't have to wait 40 some years to see a doctor who knew what he was doing!

Oh, and some data for you...there are varying estimates out there (because apnea often goes undiagnosed by general practioners) but some studies suggest that 10 percent of the general population has sleep apnea. One study I read said of the patients who were identified with apnea, between 50-75 percent were diagnosed with nocturnal GERD. When those nGERD patients were treated (with the use of a cpap or an air machine) about 75 percent showed improvement.

Oh, I started taking rx antiacids in the early 80's but haven't had any since July 2004 when I started sleeping with my little machine.

Sleep apnea may or may not be something that applies to you...but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by learning more about it. Whatever you do, don't assume your doctors have all of the answers. If they did, you wouldn't still be dealing with reflux or medication issues. Right?

Sorry about the crash course...if I can answer any of your questions, I would be happy to try.

Bethsheba

PS I've had my sleep doctor explain to me twice why the cpap helps GERD and I didn't understand/remember either explanation. I have since heard that one possible reason is that the increased air pressure in the thorax prevents the acid coming up the esphogus. But they're still learning about the cause and effect...

Last edited by bethsheba; 03-23-2007 at 04:49 PM.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 05:39 AM   #8
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Neddy,

I researched sleep apnea and found some screening tools that helped me identify my symptoms of apnea--basically they ask questions about your

1. health history (do you have high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, are
you overweight?)
2. sleep experiences (do you have trouble falling asleep, do you wake up
gasping for breath, do you hold your breath when you sleep, do you
wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep, do you wake up earlier
than you want to, do you have heartburn at night, do you wake up
coughing or choking, do you have lots of sore throats, when you wake up
is your mouth dry, etc.?)
3. mental health (do you experience depression, are you moody and crabby
during the day, do you have problems concentrating, do you forget where
you put things--like keys or a purse?)
4. energy levels (do you wake up tired even though you slept all night, do
fall asleep in a car if you're riding for an hour or more, do you fall asleep
at the movies or when you're with friends?)

Did your doctor have you fill out a questionaire with lots of questions before he told you that you did not fit the type? Oh, and only about 1/2 of the people who have apnea snore.

Bethsheba

 
Old 03-23-2007, 11:54 AM   #9
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Mike137100 HB User
Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Thanks for the responses. What kind of doctor specializes in sleep apnea? Is it a pulmonary specialist or a cardiologist?

 
Old 03-23-2007, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

I didn't know there were sleep specialists with different backgrounds before I was referred to one so I went where my doctor sent me--to a pulmonologist who was board certified in sleep medicine. I was very fortunate---he was aggressive with diagnosis and conservative with treatment (not a pill pusher).

It is my understanding that the field of sleep medicine is so new that our sleep specialists have done their residencies in a variety of fields---ear, nose, and throat; neurology; cardiology; pediatrics; psychology; psychiatry; and so on. They then pursue additonal education in sleep physiology. The important thing here is that you want to see a sleep specialist who is credentialed by passing the certification administered by the American Board of Sleep Medicine. Again, this is a new field but there were at least 1100 board certified sleep drs practicing sleep medicine in the last 10 years so they're out there if you or your doctor are willing to do a little research.

The cardiologists in our area tend to refer the most patients to the sleep specialists because the cardiologists are very aware of the impact sleep problems can create for the cardiovascular system...which reminds me, in addition to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems can be a symptom of sleep disorders.

Oh well, you get the picture...keep in mind that not everyone has a "sleep study" done...I filled out an 8-10 page questionaire on health and lifestyle history, documented my sleep activities for 2 weeks, met with my specialist, and then had the study done. But again, it was worth it. It literally changed my life overnight.

Bethsheba

 
Old 03-25-2007, 09:17 PM   #11
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Hi I dont know if mine is also a sleep disorder... like I am so sleepy that I cannot control it... but I am fighting it hard... because it feels like if I fall a sleep ill stop breathing. Does that make any sense? I feel so lethargic I cant even lift my own hand and let alone breathing is also a hard work for me. Is it a normal feeling for LPR? the head pressure (like hteres no enough oxygen in thebrain), excesive sleepiness (mine is all the time), and staring gaze? like I cant pull myself up from gazing at nothing thanks sorry for asking so much questions

 
Old 03-26-2007, 04:31 AM   #12
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Chikkie14It could be a sleep disorder but I think I'd look at other things first...do you take any medications?

Side effects can occur months or years after starting a med...I've had the symptoms you describe while taking blood pressure medications--they made me feel sedated, sleepy, and I couldn't concentrate enough to read the paper, to write thank you notes, things like that. Although I had these side effects on blood pressure medications, meds for other conditons can cause the same problems.

Oh, and there's no such thing as asking too many questions.

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 03-27-2007 at 04:56 AM.

 
Old 03-29-2007, 07:17 AM   #13
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Acid reflux can be caused by or aggravated sleep apnea but unfortunately many doctors don't identify the patient as having sleep apnea.

I have read that before being diagnosed with sleep apnea, patients have had symptoms of this condition for an average of seven years-and during this time they have reported seeing a family physician about 17 times and a specialist about 9 times. Doctors get very little training about the signs and symtoms of sleep apnea (about 15 minutes worth) and as a result if often goes undiagnosed.

If your "treatment" isn't working, try investigating causes. It's better to eliminate the cause than it is to treat the symptom, specially when treatment may be med free!

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 03-29-2007 at 06:09 PM. Reason: brevity

 
Old 03-29-2007, 07:50 AM   #14
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

Dito Bethsheba,

I had Gerd/LPR for humm... a good three plus years before my internal medicine and ENT doctors caught it. My internal medicne GP also caught the signs of my sleep apnea and changed my whole families lives as a result. My husband had Gerd and sleep apnea as well.. and my four year old son was being treated for reflux and had sleep apnea as well. Is there a link? I don't know. But it seems to be an aweful coincidence if there is not a link. There seems to also be a link to allergies and ENT problems as well.

Sincerely,
MG
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Old 04-16-2007, 04:45 PM   #15
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Re: GERD and Sleep Apnea

I have had sleep problems for like, 20 years. I wake up gasping, I wake up in a panic, I wake up and have hallucinations, I can't fall asleep and keep jumping and freaking out, I wake up earlier than I want to, I can't get back to sleep, my eyes just pop right open. I have had severe gerd and when i wake up my chest always feels funny. and if I push myself at night to stay awake, I start wheezing. Weird, isn't it?

i know a pulmonary guy who is actually the one who first diagnosed me with reflux before anyone else did, and he does sleep stuff too. I should call him. Maybe I need a cpap.

 
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