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
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
for maximum comfort
If you are overweight, lose
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:
Change in personality
Un refreshing sleep
Nocturnal snorting, gasping,
choking (may wake self up)
Chest retraction during sleep
in young children (chest pulls in)
High blood pressure
A dry mouth upon awakening
Excessive perspiring during
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
Frequent nocturnal urination
Confusion upon awakening
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
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.