Sleep Apnea, Asthma and GERD

Sleep Apnea, Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

· Persons with asthma may be at increased risk for sleep apnea, and that sleep apnea can worsen asthma.

· Sleep apnea
Ø increasing gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux)
Ø contributing to weight gain and obesity,
Ø causing decreased airflow in the airways of the lungs,
Ø increasing inflammation throughout the body (including the lungs).

· Sleep apnea may worsen acid reflux, possibly by decreasing the ability of the sphincter muscles in the esophagus to keep acid in the stomach. Acid reflux during sleep is well-known to cause and worsen night-time asthma symptoms.

· Sleep apnea may cause an increase in the amount of inflammatory chemicals within the bloodstream, worsening the inflammation in the lungs caused by asthma. These inflammatory chemicals also lead to weight gain, which further worsens asthma.

· During sleep apnea, airflow is decreased leading to low oxygen levels in the blood stream and strain on the heart. Narrowing of the small airways also leads to tightening of the smooth muscle around the airways in people with asthma, worsening their symptoms.