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Overview of Sleep Apnea

Approximately 30 million Americans are victims of a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Many millions more are predisposed and have a high risk of developing the illness. If you are an adult male, the odds are about 50/50 that your breathing is not normal when you are sleeping. It is imperative that anyone who might have this problem or is predisposed, or knows someone they care about who has the problem, should have the clearest possible understanding about it.

Is there anything I can do to help my sleep apnea?
Yes. The following steps help many people with sleep apnea sleep better

  • Stop all use of alcohol or sleep medicines. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, making it harder for you to breathe.
  • Sleep on your side or Hip instead of on your back. - Use the Sleep Better Pillow for maximum comfort
  • If you are overweight, lose weight.
  • If you still have problems, you can wear a special mask over your nose and mouth while you are sleeping. This treatment is called "continuous positive airway pressure," or CPAP. The mask will keep your airway open by adding pressure to the air you breathe. The mask helps most people with sleep apnea. In a very few cases, surgery is necessary to remove tonsils or extra tissue from the throat.

More On Sleep Apnea:
Sleep apnea occurs in all age groups and both sexes but is more common in men (it may be under diagnosed in women) and possibly young African Americans. It has been estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Four percent of middle-aged men and 2 percent of middle-aged women have sleep apnea along with excessive daytime sleepiness. People most likely to have or develop sleep apnea include those who snore loudly and also are overweight, or have high blood pressure, or have some physical abnormality in the nose, throat, or other parts of the upper airway. Sleep apnea seems to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic bas is..

What are the main symptoms?
Fatigue and tiredness during the day.
Loud snoring; if the loud snoring is repeatedly punctuated by brief periods of silence or choking sounds, the individual is certain to have obstructive sleep apnea.

Will this problem affect my life?
Actually, sleep apnea may already have affected you more than you know. Chances are things will improve for you once the diagnosis is made. If your sleep problem can be solved by not using alcohol or sleep medicine, losing weight if you're overweight and sleeping on your side, you will quickly begin to feel much more rested and energetic. If you must wear the mask while sleeping, you should soon feel the benefits. If you need surgery, you'll be able to sleep better afterwards. Whatever your treatment, remember that you are not alone and help is available.

Associated common features may include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Change in personality
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Morning headaches
  • Un refreshing sleep
  • Nocturnal snorting, gasping, choking (may wake self up)
  • Chest retraction during sleep in young children (chest pulls in)
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • Irritability
  • A dry mouth upon awakening
  • Excessive perspiring during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Heartburn
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive and impotence
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep; the repeated struggle to breath can be associated with a great deal of movement.
  • Depressed mood and/or irritability
  • Snorting, gasping, choking during sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent nocturnal urination (nocturia)
  • Confusion upon awakening

How serious is sleep apnea?
It is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. The risks of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea include heart attacks, strokes, impotence, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, obstructive sleep apnea causes daytime sleepiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems. The severity of the symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe.

For many sleep apnea patients, their bed partners or family members are the first ones to suspect that something is wrong, usually from their heavy snoring and apparent struggle to breathe. Coworkers or friends of the sleep apnea victim may notice that the individual falls asleep during the day at inappropriate times (such as while driving a car, working, or talking).

During the apneic event, the person is unable to breathe in oxygen and to exhale carbon dioxide, resulting in low levels of oxygen and increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. The reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide alert the brain to resume breathing and cause an arousal. With each arousal, a signal is sent from the brain to the upper airway muscles to open the airway; breathing is resumed, often with a loud snort or gasp. Frequent arousals, although necessary for breathing to restart, prevent the patient from getting enough restorative, deep sleep.

For many cases of obstructive sleep apnea, treatment often consists of avoiding sleeping on one's back. Even if your wearing a mask. Sleep Better Pillow was designed by a doctor to help eliminate apneic event. This Pillow is one of the most important purchase of your life. Read More.




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