ACID REFLUX (GERD) IS A DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCE OF SLEEP APNEA

GERD CAN EAT YOU AWAY
Have you ever woken in the middle of the night choking on acid because you’ve inhaled it and can’t breathe?
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! 
 This is what people with GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) experience many times if they have eaten a spicy meal,  eaten too close to bedtime, did not raise their head higher than their body while sleeping, or have SLEEP APNEA. 
 Victims of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) have experienced this nightmarish incident many times.  Fortunately, treatment for OSA will reduce or eliminate Acid Reflux, and other systemic disorders.
 
  Sleep apnea, of course, is the cessation of breathing for over 10 seconds and up to 90 seconds, repeated many times while sleeping. Snoring is the tip of the iceberg- a warning alert.
SLEEP APNEA INFLUENCES ACID REFLUX
How it happens:   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 OSA, resulting from the GERD, are esophagus and larynx damage, aspiration pneumonia, permanent lung damage, tooth erosion, and tooth sensitivity.
Solutions:   People may take medications to control symptoms of GERD, and this helps,  but OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) can override the effects of the proton-pump inhibitor (Omeprazole), or other OTC drugs. You should get to the cause of GERD and here at Sweet Hart Dental we will be able to treat OSA.
Patients in the dental office can be easily screened for OSA at the initial oral exam.  By treating the sleep apnea we can save teeth and possibly the patient’s life.
It’s so important to treat the sleep apnea for many reasons.  GERD is just one of them.  One out of 3 people have a sleep disorder.  Everyone knows someone with sleep apnea and a story to tell about it.  Shouldn’t we as dental professionals help our patients have healthier teeth and live longer?
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