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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Connection Between Sleep Difficulties and GERD for Seniors

Could Acid Reflux Result in Sleep Apnea?

       Gastroesophageal reflux and sleep problems go hand in hand. Millions of affected people who have been diagnosed with GERD report worse symptoms at night, and three in four say they routinely wake up from sleep because of them. GERD affects more than many people with  heartburn symptoms.

This association between GERD and sleep disorders make sense because when you're awake, gravity helps keep acids needed to digest food down where they belongs -- in the stomach. But when you're lying down, these acids can leak back into the esophagus, damaging its lining and significantly boosting the risk of esophageal cancer.

Here in Philippines there are tropical fruits that will help controlling the symptoms of GERD. Another advantage is that you may actually sleep better as well

While pineapple should be considered one of the most acidic fruits on the planet, it is actually very good for your acid reflux. The reason for this is that it contains bromelain, which is excellent to help your digestion, reduce your acid reflex, and calm your stomach down.

Fresh Papaya is readily available here and this tropical fruit is highly recommended by doctors, as it contains papain.

This enzyme found in papayas improves your digestion and helps to handle the absorption of protein in your body. It can help to reduce your acid reflux, improve your digestion, and bring peace to your stomach.

Some researchers believe that obstructive sleep apnea results in airway pressure changes that can cause reflux to occur, yet other researchers believe that the reflux of acids may result in spasms of the vocal cords that can then lead to sleep apnea.

With sleep apnea, people tend to breathe harder because their breathing has stopped, and that could induce reflux to flow into the esophagus
But so far, it's largely a chicken-and-egg question: Does sleep apnea cause acid reflux, or does this reflux cause sleep apnea by pooling in the esophagus and making it harder to breathe?

News for millions of people with GERD, which is most common after middle age, when the valve at the bottom of the esophagus weakens making acid more likely to flow upward, is that the risks for GERD are similar to those for obstructive sleep apnea, and obesity, which is controllable, is one reason people develop GERD.

Obstructive sleep apnea is also more common after middle age, especially in obese people. It is caused by relaxation of tissues in the neck, resulting in a temporary obstruction of the air passages. A person with sleep apnea may have as many as 50 or more episodes of breathing stoppage in a single night, raising their risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.

Preliminary study results do show what researchers have long suspected: reflux does cause people to wake up from sleep. Yet it may be a reflux of other back-flowing liquids and not just stomach acids.

Remember, many people with obstructive sleep apnea have no symptoms of heartburn.. What we will be doing, as physicians, is to evaluate whether these patients are having more esophageal injuries than are expected. It may turn out that if you have obstructive sleep apnea, you need to be examined for reflux -- even if you have no symptoms of GERD. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor does not associate it with GERD then ask him/her for an evaluation.

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