It has been shown that gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus (BE) patients have higher rates of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and poor sleep quality. Studies found that about 20 percent of Americans suffer from GERD, which is chronic heartburn or acid regurgitation. These studies have looked at the relationship between GERD and poor quality of sleep. From this they found that on average, these patients have worse sleep and overall low quality of sleep.
What is the connection?
GERD may contribute to sleep apnea by causing upper inflammation. However, sleep apnea might lead to GERD because it causes an increase in intra-thoracic pressure. Researchers found that OSA cases were higher among GERD patients than BE patients. Even when smoking, BMI and hypertension were considered, the rates of poor sleep still remained higher in those with GERD.
While BE is considered a more severe condition than GERD, researchers still found that poor quality of sleep and OSA were more closely associated with GERD. However, another study states that OSA is actually a leading risk factor for BE. What is also interesting is that sleep apnea and BE have common risk factors, including being overweight and having GERD.
With a closer look into our patients’ overall health, we can get a better look at what might be adding to their symptoms or even what might be causing further complications.