Sleep Apnea? Acid Reflux?

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by pancakemeow, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. pancakemeow

    pancakemeow New Member

    Hi everyone, I'm not sure if I should be posting this in a sleep disorder forum or an acid reflux forum or perhaps a totally different forum, as the problem is quite complicated.

    My boyfriend has been having poor sleep quality almost everyday for the past 2 years. He has no trouble falling asleep but wakes up feeling unrested and is tired the entire day. Sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Even if he slept 10 hours the previous night, he is very sleepy by 10 pm. Being a guy, he didn't go to the doctor about this problem and tried to fix it himself by sleeping in different positions. Everytime he'd try something new, he would feel a little more rested the next day, but nothing worked in the long run.

    He thought that it was sleep apnea at first, so he did some research and tried everything he could. Finally, he went to the doctor and took home a sleep study mask that would measure his breathing while he slept. The results were that nothing major was going on. We were both shocked. The results were not bad enough for the insurance to cover a CPAP machine!

    I tried to put together more information to figure out what's causing this and suggested that it might be acid reflux. He had also said that he felt a lump in his throat whenever he swallowed. He went to an ENT doctor and he stuck a camera down his throat and said that there's a little redness and prescribed Omeprazole. After taking it for a week or so, the lump went away. Ever since he was little, his dad forced him to wolf down his food and would hit him if he ate too slowly. I suggested him to eat slowly and in smaller portions and with a healthier diet. He also bought a wedge to sleep on. All this improved his sleep quality from a 5 to a 9 most nights. However, he still felt tired the entire day, especially at night, and he is still waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air. He doesn't feel any acid coming up when he is awoken though, so I'm not sure why he's gasping for air.

    Another thing to note is that he used to gag every morning after he woke up and felt very anxious, but this has stopped for the past couple months. I'm not sure if this has to do with his change in eating habits.

    I'm still stumped as to why his sleeping isn't back to normal. And I'm also suspecting the take-home sleep study wasn't very accurate. Does anyone have any ideas as to what's going on?
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I had to have a sleep study done and it wasn't having a sleep mask sent home. I had to be sent to a specialist and stay the night and be completely wired up for the entire night. I don't think he had a very good sleep study. There are too many variables when it is done by a patient and at home.

    Another thing is that he may be waking up in a panic attack, which would leave him gasping for air.

    Note that Pro Health does not provide any doctors to speak with or to provide medical advice or opinions. So you are speaking to regular people here. I suggest getting together with a doctor who will do an actual sleep study on him and not send him home with stuff to do it himself.
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Your boyfriend's symptoms sound a lot like one of my sons. He was very tired during the day for quite awhile and finally had a sleep study done and bingo! sleep apnea. He got a CPAP machine and it made all the difference. His energy picked up and he felt a lot better during day. He is also overweight and I know that's a risk or causative factor. If your BF is overweight, I would think that would be even stronger evidence for sleep apnea, but even if he's not, that doesn't rule out the possibility of sleep apnea. It's just another risk factor.

    I'm not a doctor obviously and would suggest like Two Cats Doctor that your boyfriend get a professional sleep study done and not a do-it-yourself take it home test.

  4. donna13210

    donna13210 Member

    I, too, used to wake up gasping for air. Very scary feeling. I didn't feel any acid in my throat, but I would keep trying to swallow (and breathe!). Also, my throat would feel "weird" when this happened (warm or swollen or something - hard to describe). I had also started having heartburn during the day. A gastroenterologist did an Upper Endoscopy (which examines the esophagus all the way down to the stomach). He diagnosed acid reflux, and as soon as I started on Omeprazole, the night-time gasping stopped immediately.

    Maybe your boyfriend could talk to his doctor and ask if maybe he could try increasing the dosage, to see if that helps. If it does help, after a couple of months, maybe he could decrease the dosage and see how that goes. As with any drug, it's always best to take the smallest amount you need.

    Also if your boyfriend moves around in his sleep a lot, or moves his legs in his sleep more than what is considered normal, that would affect the quality of his sleep also. As another poster said, perhaps he needs a real sleep study that is done in a sleep lab.

    Good luck!

    Donna M.

  5. ameilie73

    ameilie73 Member

    You say the results werent bad enough for insurance to justify a machine? So the results did show sleep apnea then? Until they address that his sleep will be troubled because he is stopping breathing.
  6. ameilie73

    ameilie73 Member

    Yes sounds like sleep apnea, did you say it showed on the results but it wasn't enough to warrantca machine? If someones sleep has been proven to be interrupted by stopping breathing i cannot understand how long is long enough to warrant a machine sounds ludicious.

    Acid reflux can irritate the lungs but not wake you up gasping for breath. You can have a 24 hr ph test done for acid reflux although it isnt the most pleasant procedure.