Acid Reflux Attack
Q: A few nights ago, I started experiencing what I thought was a relapse into
apnea. Although my mask and machine were functioning properly, I felt like
I was having either severe apneas or a heart attack. It felt like something
was expanding inside my chest. The sensation eased up a bit when I sat up
or stood up. This kept me up all night, and I had to miss work the next
I went to the doctor after this happened for three nights in a row. I
thought maybe I had a heart problem, or that I the apnea treatment had
somehow become ineffective (although I experienced no symptoms of apnea --
no sweating, high blood pressure, headache behind the eyes, etc.).
The doctor ruled out heart a heart problem because the sensation changed
with body position. He thinks I probably have a hiatal hernia, coupled with
acid reflux. He said this condition can mimic a heart attack.
Woohoo -- just what I need -- another sleep problem.
Anyway, he prescribed "prevacid" and is sending me to get an upper "GI"
QUESTION: If I really do have reflux/hiatal hernia, could this condition
also mimic sleep apnea?? Could this be what has been jolting me to
semi-awakeness fifty times an hour?? Or is it more likely that I have both
OSA and reflux/hernia?
A:This is a fairly common problem for many of us with OS
A: The symptoms are scary, because they do mimic many of the classic symptoms we have always been taught regarding a heart attack. Chest pain, numbness down the arms, anxiety, etc. Treatment is totally different. I don't recall seeing anyone on this ng state that CPAP relieved the symptoms. Here are the basics: 1: Raise the head of your bed about 6 inches. This helps prevent gravity flow of stomach acids back into the esophagus. 2: Don't eat or drink anything within 3 or 4 hours of going to bed. Food creates more acid flow and is just more stuff to back up into your esophagus. 3: Use either Prilosec or Prevacid religously. Do not let your doctor put you on Zantac (ranitidine) or similar drugs. Prilosec and Prevacid are far more effective, actually disabling the individual acid producing cells. 4. Propulcid has often been used as well, either alone or in conjunction with Prilosec or Prevacid. It works differently, by both increasing the closing pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, and also increasing the motility of the intestines, moving food out of the stomach quicker. HOWEVER - DO NOT USE PROPULCID - unless your doctor has specifically approved it within the past several weeks. It has recently been the subject of FDA scrutiny and warnings in light of numerous deaths related to heart dysrhythmia while on Propulcid. It is not recommended except in very severe cases.
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