Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Apnea
Table of Contents
- Essential Oils
- Adjusting Sleep Position
- Avoid Alcohol & Certain Medication
- Weight Loss
- Dental Devices
• Obstructive – This is the more common type of apnea, This is caused by a blockage of the airway. It usually occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you’re sleeping. It causes considerably loud snoring and pauses in breathing. Another cause for this is that when the facial bones are and skull are developing, it can lead to a small mouth, lower than normal face and a tongue that may be too large.
• Complex – Complex sleep apnea is a combination between obstructive and central.
One major issue with this disorder is that most of the time, the sufferer doesn’t even know they have it until a spouse or friend witnesses it. More than 18 million American adults suffer from it and it isn’t specific to just one group of people. It can affect all age groups and both sexes. It can also cause a male to suffer from low testosterone due to the irregular sleep cycle. Fortunately, it can be reversed with treatment.
Sleep Apnea Causes
There are certainly quite a few things that can cause this disorder, but most of it has to do with the throat. The throat is encased by a variety of muscles that are responsible for controlling the airway for swallowing, breathing and speaking. While you’re sleeping, these muscles aren’t as active and it causes narrowing of the throat. In a lot of people, this has no effect on their breathing. When it comes to others, it can lead to snoring with an obstructed or completely blocked airflow. If your airway is blocked completely, it’s obstructive sleep apnea.
It can happen to anybody, but is more common in middle age or older adults.
The more obese you are, the higher your risk for having obstructive sleep apnea.
Medication & Alcohol:
Medication that causes sedation can interfere with the ability to awake from sleep, leading to a lengthened period of apnea with dangerous consequences. The same goes for alcohol use.
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Being woken by choking, smothering or gasping
- Frequent urge to urinate during the night
- Lack of energy
- Concentration difficulty
- Impaired memory
- Restless sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased risk for accidents
- Errors in daily activities
- Increased risk of heart issues
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack or chest pain
- May contribute to anxiety
- Brain damage
How To Diagnose Sleep Apnea
Diagnosing this can be done by a specialist in the sleep medicine profession who is very knowledgeable about the disorder. They should have a good understanding of your health issues and the diagnosis can be made based on the person’s medical history, testing, and physical examinations. Testing is generally completed in a sleep laboratory using a study known as a polysomnogram.
This study measures blood oxygen levels, heart rhythm and rate, body position, movement of limbs, duration of different stages of sleep and breathing effort and airflow. You can also get a home sleep apnea testing machine or monitor to perform the tests. This is a good alternative to traditional studies in testing centers. It can be done only if the patient does not suffer from any other illnesses and is suspected to have a moderate or severe case of apnea.
Diagnosing the disorder is based upon one or more of these guidelines:
- High blood pressure & resistant to treatment
- Neck size (more than 17 inches for men and 16 for women)
- The observation of the patient during episodes of apnea, choking or gasping during sleep.
- A small upper airway
- Complaints of snoring or ineffective sleep
This is one of those remedies that may seem out of the ordinary, but essential oils can help reduce the effect of snoring. Oils such as lemon oil, thyme,
Sleeping on your back can make the snoring worse to begin with, so those who switch their position from their back and onto their side or stomach may see relief from their condition. This may prove difficult to do throughout the night, which is why it’s not the best prevention method. If this is something that is in fact a plausible option, look for a comfortable mattress and some supportive pillows that will help your position transition easier.
A mandibular advancement device can help reposition the jaw to bring the tongue and soft palate forward. This oral device can help to relieve the obstruction in certain individuals. This treatment is also great for reducing snoring. These devices are an alternate option for those who cannot tolerate the CPAP machine.
This is a tough condition to live with, especially if you aren’t aware that you have it. You can have it with or without snoring, it all depends on how severely the throat is collapsed. If you think that you have sleep apnea based on the symptoms or the guidelines, talk to your health practitioner. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist who will set you up with a testing center or treatment.