Health Care and Sleep Apnea

Your Best Health Care: Health Care and Sleep Apnea

Health Care and Sleep Apnea

One of the
most challenging aspects of sleeping soundly is a health issue known as sleep
apnea
. It
is a common disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep,
preventing oxygen from reaching the brain. Sufferers wake hundreds of times per
night, each time normal breathing is interrupted and the brain is depleted of
oxygen.
As
a result, they never feel rested and experience excessive daytime grogginess.
It is not a disease but increases risks of contracting other diseases and
conditions. There are three types: obstructive, central and complex, which is a
combination of the first two, according to SimpleSleepSolutions.com.
Central
Sleep Apnea

is caused when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles to breath. It is
very uncommon and snoring is generally not a symptom.
Obstructive
sleep apnea (OSA)
is the most common form of sleep apnea, with some
estimates at 1 in 7 people in the U.S being afflicted with some form of OSA. In
OSA, the muscles around the throat and airway relax, causing the airway to
collapse. Sometimes the tongue falls back and obstructs the airway. The brain
can no longer receive oxygen and sends a signal to the muscles to open, often
causing the person to wake up with a gasp or a snort. Most of the time,
sufferers do not recall waking up during these episodes.
More
than 18 million adults have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep
Foundation. It is very difficult at present to estimate the prevalence of
childhood OSA because of widely varying monitoring techniques, but a minimum
prevalence of 2 to 3% is likely, with prevalence as high as 10 to 20% in
habitually snoring children. More information is located at this website: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea/page/0/1
.
Sleep
apnea can make you wake up in the morning feeling tired or unrefreshed even
though you have had a full night of sleep, according to the American Academy of
Sleep Medicine. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty
concentrating or you may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your
body is waking up numerous times throughout the night, even though you might
not be conscious of each awakening.
The
lack of oxygen your body receives can have negative long-term consequences for
your health. This includes:
·        
High
blood pressure
·        
Heart
disease
·        
Stroke
·        
Pre-diabetes
and diabetes
·        
Depression
If
you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back. This narrows
the airway, which reduces the amount of air that can reach your lungs. The
narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in back of the throat
vibrate as you breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea in adults is considered a
sleep-related breathing disorder. Causes and symptoms differ for obstructive
sleep apnea in children and central sleep apnea. More info is available at this
site: http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/sleep-apnea
.
Anyone
can develop it, regardless of gender or age, and even children can be afflicted,
according to Simple Sleep Solutions. The most common risk factors include:
·        
Excess
weight, especially obesity – about half of all OSA sufferers are overweight
·        
Male,
although recent research has indicated that women’s risk increases to about the
same level as men once they reach post-menopausal age
·        
Over
the age of 60
·        
Smoking
·        
Enlarged
tonsils and adenoids, one of the most common factors for children with OSA,
particularly overweight children
·        
Having
certain anatomical features such as a thick neck, narrowed airway, deviated
spectrum or a receding chin
·        
Using
alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers, all of which relax the muscles in the
airway
·        
Having
asthma, in adults and children, particularly if they are overweight
·        
Race
and ethnicity can play a part as well – some studies have indicated African
Americans, Hispanics and other races have a slightly higher risk
·        
Allergies
and chronic nasal congestion
According
to the National Institutes for Health (NIH),
Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a
physical exam, and sleep study results. Your primary care doctor may evaluate
your symptoms first, and will then decide whether you need to see a sleep
specialist.
Sleep
specialists are doctors who diagnose and treat people who have sleep problems.
Examples of such doctors include lung and nerve specialists and ear, nose, and
throat specialists. Other types of doctors also can be sleep specialists.
If you think you have a sleep problem, consider keeping a
sleep diary for 1 to 2 weeks. Bring the diary with you to your next medical
appointment. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. Also
write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the
morning, and how sleepy you feel at various times during the day. This
information can help your doctor figure out whether you have a sleep disorder.
Sleep studies are tests that measure how well you sleep
and how your body responds to sleep problems. These tests can help your doctor
find out whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is. Sleep studies
are the most accurate tests for diagnosing sleep apnea. There are different
kinds of sleep studies.
If your doctor thinks you have sleep apnea, he or she may
recommend a polysomnogram (also called a PSG) or a home-based portable monitor.
Testing can show patterns and symptoms that can help lead to a diagnosis and
treatment options. More information is available at this site: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea
.
According
to HelpGuide.org,
if your sleep apnea is moderate to
severe, or you’ve tried self-help strategies and lifestyle changes without
success, a sleep doctor may help you find an effective treatment. Treatment for
sleep apnea has come a long way in recent times, so even if you were unhappy
with sleep apnea treatment in the past, you may now find something that works
for you.
Treatments for
central and complex sleep apnea usually include treating any underlying medical
condition causing the apnea, such as a heart or neuromuscular disorder, and
using supplemental oxygen and breathing devices while you sleep. Treatment
options for obstructive sleep apnea include:
·        
Other breathing devices
·        
Dental devices
·        
Implants
·        
Surgery
Medications are
only available to treat the sleepiness associated with sleep apnea, not the
sleep apnea itself. Much more material on this health care issue can be found
at this website: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-apnea.htm
.



According to this website: http://vjpillow.com/sleep-health-benefits-science/, there are at least 8 reasons why sleep is important to you. Check out how you benefit from getting good sleep; it’s important to your health.  
Since so many
people suffer from sleep apnea, it is perceived as a very common problem, but
not that many take steps to deal with the problem. As sleep apnea can result in
long term more severe health issues, it is advisable to see your doctor for a
solution that is to your benefit. If you have it, or think you do, get help. You’ll
sleep better for it.

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