If you rely heavily on acid-reducing medications due to acid reflux disease, a healthy “diet” of OAT may reduce your need for medication. Sure mild foods can help to ease your stomach, but this OAT doesn’t have anything to do with oatmeal, though. It stands for oral appliance therapy, which is used to treat sleep apnea.
Research suggests a link between sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux disease, so if the apnea can be reduced, the frequency of reflux episodes may follow suit. Patients who get effective sleep apnea treatment may find that they can reduce or even eliminate their need for acid reflux medications.
When patients go to a sleep clinic for apnea treatment, OAT is generally the first course of treatment attempted. The patient is fitted for the appliance, which is then worn during sleep. OAT is generally more readily tolerated than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks, so patients are more likely to comply with the treatment. This makes it more effective.
An oral surgeon designs an oral appliance to reposition either the patient’s tongue or the patient’s jaw during sleep. This positioning helps to prevent the soft tissues at the rear of the throat from collapsing and obstructing the airway.
Before you can be treated for apnea at a sleep clinic, though, you must have an official diagnosis of the condition. If you do not have obstructive sleep apnea, then OAT will not reduce your symptoms.
GERD is only one of many medical conditions that may have a connection to sleep apnea, which also may have some relationship with high blood pressure and stroke. Sleep apnea may even increase a patient’s risk of sudden death.
If you suffer from episodes of acid reflux and take medication for it, you may want to explore whether you have sleep apnea as a co-occurring condition. Sleep apnea and acid reflux may be related, so if you are able to address the sleep apnea, you may find that you have fewer episodes of acid reflux, too.
Discuss your treatment options with our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Steven Koos DDS, MD. Call 312-328-9000 to learn more about your options.