Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder where breathing randomly stops and starts. Primary signs of this disorder are loud snoring and fatigue even after a full night’s rest.
Many people have it and don’t know it
Sleep apnea is more common than people think. It is said that about 80 percent of cases go undiagnosed. The reasons many people have sleep apnea and don’t know it is because doctors frequently misdiagnose it for something else, like high blood pressure or depression.
The stereotype is not true
Many people believe that this sleeping disorder only occurs in middle aged, obese men. That is not completely true. After women go through menopausal age they are more likely to be affected by sleep apnea. So do not be surprised if your wife is diagnosed with it as well.
It is usually thought to be depression or fatigue
Since the symptoms for this sleeping disorder are so broad, many doctors mistake it for depression or fatigue. However, it is usually noted that a patient’s depression gets better once they are prescribed a treatment for this. So if you feel like you are suffering from depression or fatigue tell your doctor about your concerns. The right medicine can make a huge difference.
It has some serious risk factors
Sleep apnea is thought to be just a disruption during a persons sleep. But over time it can to lead to serious complications, such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. It is better to get your symptoms checked out before the situation escalates and you are being brought to the hospital for a medical emergency.
Minor changes make a big difference
It is advised for a person with this disease to lose weight and stay away from alcohol and other sedatives. As obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea, doctors advise patients to get active more, eat less fatty foods ,and stay away from sedatives that can have a negative affect on the body.
It runs in the family
Sleep apnea can occur in children due to genetic facial features passed down by parents. Other genetic feature examples include recessed chin, large tonsils and overbites. Children can experience the disorder as early as two years old. Don’t be alarmed if your child develops a severe snoring problem, but take them to get the proper care they need.
Snoring is usually the first sign
Even though many people joke about how loudly someone may snore, it can be the first sign that something is wrong. Many doctors advise that a person with a serious snoring condition get it checked out. We all know how this can be severely annoying, so make sure you tell your partner about their snoring so that they can go get checked out.
There are machines that help with sleep apnea
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are the most commonly used machines to treat the disorder. A patient usually wears the mask over his or her nose and mouth at night. The machine’s main function is to keep nasal passages open.
Can become life-threatening if ignored
If sleep apnea goes untreated it will only get worse, causing serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and weight gain. Please do not ignore the signs or symptoms. Make sure to go see a doctor right away if you believe that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. It can be a dangerous condition if untreated.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Its more common name is OSA and it is the most common type of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by blockage in the airway when the sleeping person’s tongue falls back against the soft palate, which in turn collapses against the back of the throat. So what happens is that this closes the airway so the no air can enter the lungs when the person who is sleeping tries to inhale.
Central Sleep Apnea
Not as common as obstructive disorders, is Central Sleep Apnea. This happens when the brain does not signal the muscles to breathe normally. Which can be a serious problem. When this happens the person with the disorder will stop breathing altogether or sometimes inhale shallow and periodic breaths.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Here is a combination of both Obstructive and Central Disordered Sleeping. What happens is the person who is asleep fails to breath normally after the airway is blocked. This person will experience symptoms from both types of the disorder.
Increased risk of Stroke
Sleep apnea can significantly increase your risk of stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. A stroke occurs when the blood that carries oxygen to the brain is blocked. The reason a stroke is a medical emergency is because without oxygen, brain cells will begin to die within a few minutes. About 50% of all stroke victims have sleep apnea.
Atrial Fibrillation and Sleep Apnea
It is said that if you have or have had atrial fibrillation that you are 40% more likely to have sleep apnea. What is Atrial Fibrillation, you may ask. It’s a type of heart disease. It is said to be a common form of heart disease and the most common source of an irregular heart beat.
Sleep Apnea can worsen Diabetes
The cause behind sleep apnea can create a insulin resistance in a person body. Those with diabetes need insulin for their body to work. Even though there are two different types of diabetes those who are insulin dependent diabetes may get worse. Though who are pre-diabetic may actually develop diabetes.
PCOS ( Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Sleep Apnea
PCOS is a disease that affects many women during childbearing years. The cause of PCOS is still unknown , however the symptoms are irregular periods and hormonal imbalances. The body produces eggs as it should and women with PCOS will have trouble conceiving. Women with PCOS have 50% greater chances of developing sleep apnea.
Down Syndrome and Sleep Apnea
We mentioned earlier that sleep apnea can be passed down to children through genetic facial features. Kids who are born with Down syndrome are 60% more likely to develop sleep apnea. Children with Down syndrome are born with an extra DNA chromosome. The reason this extra chromosome forms is still unknown.
Medication and Sleep Apnea
It is said that if you are on three or more blood pressure medications and your doctors still don’t know how to control your pressure, that there is a 60% chance you have sleep apnea. It is good to mention to your doctor that you believe you could be experiencing sleep apnea instead of high blood pressure.
There are treatment alternatives
As we mentioned before, the treatment of choice is often a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. However, the problem with the CPAP device is that a lot of patients choose not to use them because they can be uncomfortable, noisy, and bulky — making the treatment worse then the condition.
Sleep Apnea and Age
People of all ages can develop it, but the condition is more common in those who are older. It is said that as we get older we lose tone and elasticity as part of the normal aging process. Therefore, with the natural softening of the tissue in the throat, there’s a high likelihood of the tissue collapsing.
Sleep Apnea and Alcohol Use
Alcohol is considered a muscle relaxant and since many people love a drink before they go to bed after a long day it can lead to episode of sleep apnea, even in those who don’t have sleep apnea. In those who DO have it, alcohol can lengthen the duration of the episode.
Race Can Affect Sleep Apnea
It has been proven that both risk and severity can vary between races. It could be due to the fact that there are anatomical differences in the way different races’ facial structures are oriented. Therefore, some races are more prone to developing sleep apnea then others. African-Americans and Latinos are at higher risk of developing it.
Smokers Get It Too
According to a study, current smokers are 2.5 more likely to have and develop sleep apnea than smokers who have quit and non-smokers combined. As everyone knows, those who smoke destroy their airway tissues. This irritation in the nose and the throat reduces the space for air to flow clearly.
Sleep Apnea is not just Snoring
As mentioned, snoring is serious symptom that needs to be checked out by doctors to determine whether sleep apnea is to blame. However sleep apnea isn’t “just snoring.” Sleep apnea is a condition where the person stops breathing, possibly up to 400 times throughout the night in some cases.
Sleep Apnea is a big deal
It is a common mistake for people to think that this sleeping disorder is no big deal when it actually is. Many people think that it won’t have any lingering effects on the body, but it does. It doesn’t just affect your body but your mind as well. As mentioned before if it is left untreated it has been linked to job-related injuries, car accidents and more.
Sleep Apnea Is Not Only For Older People
It is estimated that more then 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Even though it is more common after the age of 40, anyone of any age can get it, even children.
Lying On Your Side Can Help
It is said if you like sleeping on your back, gravity can pull the tissues in the throat down where they can most likely block your airway. Sleeping on your side can help open your throat. Certain pillows are said to help keep you on your side. Some people even take it to the extreme of putting tennis balls in the back of their shirts to avoid laying back.
A Mouthpiece Might Work,Too
A dentist or orthodontist can fit you for a mouthpiece or oral appliance to ease mild sleep apnea. This custom, made-for-you device can adjust to the position of your lower jaw and tongue. It can be put in at bedtime to help keep your airway open while you sleep.
Surgery Is The Best Way To Fix Sleep Apnea
It is said that for some people surgery is a perfect way to cure it. For example, with a child who has a large tonsil that’s blocking their airways, a doctor could remove the one side to solve the problem for good. Even adults can benefit from surgery for their sleep apnea. But it is not a recommended choice for everyone, so it is good advice to talk to your doctor first.
Be Careful Where You Get Your CPAP Mask
If you purchase your CPAP mask from a unauthorized supplier or a unlicensed source, there is high chance that it won’t fit properly. Improperly fitted CPAP masks can ruin the natural position of your teeth and jaw. It can also close your airway during your sleep and actually increase your chances of a sleep apnea episode, instead of helping it.
Sleep Apnea happens When Sleep Cycle Is Interrupted
Episodes occur when the normal sleep cycle in the human’s body is interrupted. In many cases, victims can stop breathing more than 350 times in a single night. In a normal person this only happens a few times during the night, but for those people with the disorder this can happen hundreds of time during the night.
People with Sleep Apnea Do Not Grow At Night
People with this problem do not create human growth hormones at night, because it often interrupts their bodies’ schedule. Insufficient human growth hormone can easily lead to obesity. Lower levels of testosterone and a decrease in lean muscle mass in the body can result in insufficient amount of hormone, which encourages weight gain.
Peeing A Lot During The Night Is Common
An often-overlooked symptom of sleep apnea is peeing a lot during the night. This occurs as a result of the heart not getting enough oxygen which lead to excess pressure on the body. The brain then interprets it as having to much fluid and sends signals to body to pass urine. It is advise that if you pee alot at night it is best to receive sleep apnea treatment.
More Likely To Get Into Accidents
People suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have a car accident since they experience more disturbances during their sleep. Lack of quality sleep can cause drowsiness and some people even falling asleep when talking. This is one of the main reasons to get your sleep apnea treated, so you can avoid these incidents.
Sleep Apnea Can Be Dangerous
Sleep apnea can leave a person feeling fatigued and sleep deprived, and it can be linked to other diseases and conditions. It can get dangerous due to the continual lack of quality sleep which can lead to loss of memory, lack of energy, and irritability.
Staying Fit Is A Great Way To Treat Sleep Apnea
Many doctors advise exercise as a main treatment for sleep apnea, since sleep apnea is linked to problems such as being overweight, consuming alcohol, and smoking. If you start exercising it can help reduce the effects that these problems bring.
More Common in Men
Sleep apnea can affect anyone — men, women, and children. However, it happens more commonly in men who are 35 or older. Statistics say that sleep apnea affects about 4 percent of middle-aged men and 2 percent of middle-aged women. The reasoning behind this is because men tend to have larger necks and weigh more than women, which happen to be two risk factors for developing sleep apnea.
Normal Breathing Can Be Restored
With sleep apnea, a person is unable to breathe in oxygen and to exhale carbon dioxide. The reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide alert the brain to resume breathing, which causes arousal. With each arousal, a signal is sent to the brain to the upper airway muscles to open the airway. Breathing then resumes, often with a loud gasp or snort.
Sleep Apnea Is Linked To Other Diseases
Other major health issues have been linked to sleep apnea. These health issues include: high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and adult asthma. The increased risk for health problems linked to sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous but with right treatment it will be okay.
Behavioral therapy is when a person is asked to make behavioral changes as an important part of their treatment program. In mild cases, behavioral therapy may be all that is needed to improve a persons sleep apnea, but in more severe cases major behavioral changes are needed to to create an impact on a person’s sleep apnea.