Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is strongly associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Nocturnal bruxism has also been shown to be associated with GERD. However, gender and ethnic variances in GERD and bruxism in patients with OSA have not been well documented. Our aim was to accurately assess the prevalence of self-reported GERD and bruxism in patients with OSA and to examine the influence of gender and ethnicity.
This was a retrospective chart review of patients seen and diagnosed with OSA (defined by AHI > 5) at our tertiary-level county sleep facility. The patients had filled out a comprehensive sleep questionnaire with specific questions addressing nocturnal GERD symptoms and these were reviewed and responses tabulated.
There is a high prevalence of GERD in patients with OSA –with 35% of patients complaining of nocturnal heartburn and GERD symptoms. Prevalence of bruxism is also high at 25.6%. Prevalence of bruxism, but not GERD is higher in men than in women –43% vs. 31%. African-Americans have the highest prevalence of GERD –40% vs. 31% in Hispanic population, and 34% in Caucasians. On the other hand, prevalence of bruxism was seen to be highest in Caucasians –35% vs. 19% in Hispanics. Overall, no correlation was observed between the presence of self-reported GERD and bruxism.
There is a high prevalence of GERD and bruxism in patients with OSA. Ethnic factors seem to influence both these co-morbidities –the mechanism underlying this needs to be further studied.
Physicians involved in the management of OSA patients need to be cognizant about these co-morbidities and treat these conditions.
Shyam Subramanian, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information