Sleep apnea is a common, yet dangerous condition. Many of the millions of people that are afflicted by it don’t know how serious the condition they have is. They might notice that they suffer from snoring and daily exhaustion for a long time before they decide to go to a clinic close to them. For example, people that suffer from sleep apnea in Carlsbad, CA can go to a clinic in Carlsbad after years of suffering from the condition.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to stop breathing for a short time (10-20 seconds) while they are sleeping. These pauses can happen up to 100 times in an hour. Many people are unaware that they have stopped breathing. People that have sleep apnea don’t inhale the amount of oxygen that their body needs. Sleep apnea may sound like snoring also. Apart from waking up tired in the morning, there are a lot of issues that are associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be a trigger for mental health issues, cause loss of memory, increase the risk of heart failure and lead to poor immune function. There are different types of sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by the relaxation of the muscles that support soft tissues in the upper airway during sleep. This restricts the flow of air in and out of the mouth, indirectly causing snoring and interrupted breathing. It also causes heart rhythm irregularities and reduces the flow of oxygen to vital organs.
Central Sleep Apnea: This is not as common as obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the central nervous system. It happens when the brain refuses to send a signal to the muscles that control breathing. This is always a result of instability in the respiratory control center. It is caused by an underlying health condition.
Sex: Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, after menopause, the likelihood of women having sleep apnea increases.
Older Age: Although sleep apnea is not restricted to any age bracket, the likelihood of having sleep apnea increases with age, especially in one’s 50s and 60s.
Weight: People that are overweight have a higher risk of having sleep apnea than people who aren’t. Sleep apnea is also common among people that are obese.
Smoking: Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than non-smokers.
The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include;
Sore throat/ Dry mouth
Inability to concentrate
Depression and anxiety
The symptoms of central sleep apnea in children include;
Poor academic performance
Sluggishness or sleepiness
Unusual sleeping positions
There are traditional remedies for sleep apnea e.g. wearing Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask at night. However, these methods are considered uncomfortable, even though they have proven to be effective. Few alternative treatments can be used to reduce sleep apnea symptoms, and they include;
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Doctors will normally advise people that have issues with sleep apnea to lose weight. Excess fat, especially in the upper body, can result in sleep apnea because it increases the risk of narrow nasal passages and airway obstruction. Research has shown that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the effects of sleep apnea. In some cases, sleep apnea is completely eradicated.
Alter Your Sleep Position: This can increase the quality of sleep that you get while reducing the level or effect of sleep apnea. According to research, more than 50 percent of obstructive sleep apnea cases were as a result of sleeping positions. For adults, sleeping on the side can reduce the effect of sleep apnea, while sleeping on the back (supine position) can worsen it. However, children should sleep on their backs.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking: Complications gotten as a result of sleep apnea can be reduced by quitting alcohol and smoking. The throat muscles that control breathing are relaxed by alcohol. It can also cause inflammation in your airway, which might cause the airway to be blocked. Tobacco use can also cause inflammation.
Although there are no real causes of sleep apnea, there are factors that can increase the risk of suffering from it. Sleep apnea can be fatal, so it is important to visit a doctor once you notice any symptoms. Making healthy lifestyle changes can reduce the effects of sleep apnea.