We all value our sleep. Getting a peaceful night of rest is incredibly important for your health and your state of mind. Unfortunately, there are some medical issues that can occur while you are trying to revitalize your body that can be a serious risk to your health.
A lot of people who suffer from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) also experience nighttime GERD. However, a lot of people who suffer from nighttime GERD are unaware that they are experiencing a reflux episode while they are asleep.
According to Dr. Donald O. Castell, Professor of Medicine and Director at the Esophageal Disorders Program at the Medical University of South Carolina, only a small percentage of people who experience nighttime GERD are awoken by the issue. The rest simply sleep through the episode, which can lead to some serious issues.
The Dangers of Nighttime GERD
The reason why nighttime GERD is so hazardous is because of the position you are in while you sleep. During the day, a majority of your time is spent either sitting or standing, which means that gravity is helping to keep certain fluids in your stomach. These fluids can be harmful to your esophagus.
During sleep, your body is in a prone position, which means that these harmful fluids can easily make their way up your esophagus. The acid in the stomach can also pool inside the esophagus, which can cause significant damage.
Losing Sleep Because of Nighttime GERD
People who wake up in the middle of the night due to their nighttime GERD can also encounter another major health issue in addition to heartburn and damage to the esophagus.
Individuals who suffer from nighttime GERD tend to lose a considerable amount of valuable sleep. This can cause them to experience fatigue during the day and sleeplessness during the night, and it may lead to sleep deprivation. Individuals who suffer from sleep deprivation may experience episodes of impaired perception, disturbances in vision, decreased reaction times, and other quality-of-life issues.
At the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery, we can provide you with the professional help you need to manage your GERD and prevent nighttime GERD. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with board-certified general surgeon Dr. Reginald Bell.