What is Sleep Apnea and what are the Symptoms?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects approximately 3 million Americans and has recently taken the stage as a more recognized medical issue.  OSA is characterized by the instances of apneas, when you actually stop breathing while sleeping.  This occurs because of a collapse of the soft tissue of your airway, actually eliminating the ability to breathe.  When these apneas occur, your body actually wakes you up in order to start you breathing again.  OSA sounds scary, and it really is if it is left untreated.  Luckily, there are quite a few signs that you could be suffering from sleep apnea, allowing clues for you to go see your doctor to get on your path to treatment.

One of the most obvious symptoms of OSA is the occurrence of these apneas.  Your partner may actually be able to notice these if they are near while you are sleeping.  You can notice them too; if you ever find yourself jolted awake, it could be your body waking you up to restart respiration.  Another very common symptom is loud snoring.  Again, your partner may complain of this and if you experience snoring with any other symptoms it is worth it to take a trip to a doctor.

There are plenty of other symptoms to look out for.  Because OSA greatly affects your quality of sleep, many of the symptoms are related.  Often, those with untreated OSA find themselves feeling tired throughout the day.  Along with this, you could experience irritability or mood swings due to your body not getting the deep sleep it needs.  Those with undiagnosed sleep apnea can even have poor job performance in more severe cases.  Even if these symptoms don’t seem like the end of the world, untreated OSA has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and more severe high blood pressure.  Because of this, it is very important that you see a doctor or schedule a sleep test so you can begin treatment.  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment is the most effective method of managing your OSA and is shown to help eliminate all of the aforementioned symptoms.  You will find yourself more alert, happier, and you may even lose a few pounds along the way.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to OSA or it’s symptoms, but hopefully you now have a better idea of some symptoms. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been on the rise in the last few years, now with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year.  But being as common as it is, many people suffering from sleep apnea don’t even realize they have it!  One of the most important early symptoms to look out for is excessive snoring while asleep.  Snoring could just be snoring of course, but OSA can cause this symptom due to the partial blockage of airflow through your windpipe, causing loud and persistent snoring that can disturb you and your partner.  Following this, if is very common to find yourself woken suddenly at night due to the instance of apneas, where you actually stop breathing due to airway blockage.  These instances could just feel like waking for whatever reason, or it could be more sudden where you find yourself gasping for air.  These are some of the earliest things to look out for in order to get yourself on the road to treatment.

If your OSA goes untreated for a more prolonged period of time, your symptoms could become much more serious.  Due to these mini waking periods, even if you get what felt like a full night sleep many sufferers find themselves exhausted throughout the day.  This can lead to irritability, mood swings, and a decrease in productivity, all of which can affect your relationships and job performance.  Waking, you could experience a sore throat, dryness of the mouth, or headaches, all of which can have you starting off the day on the wrong side of the bed.

Further down the line, sleep apnea has actually been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease when it goes untreated.  If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, it is best to go see a doctor or get a sleep test done to avoid any further complications.  Treatments like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) have been shown as the most effective means of controlling your OSA and reducing the risk of severe symptoms down the line.

 

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what symptoms to look out for. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are many ways that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can manifest itself, and the symptoms can be different from person to person.  Because of this, it is very important to talk to your doctor if you are worried you may have developed OSA so you can get the treatment you need to stay healthy.  The most concrete symptom of OSA is the occurrence of apneas, an instance where you actually stop breathing in your sleep.  This is caused by a partial collapse of your airway and can actually be noticeable by your partner due to the dangerous lack of breathing that occurs.  Alongside these apneas, you may have been told you are a loud snorer or sometimes cough or sputter after these apneas happen.

There can also be less obvious signs of OSA.  Many people notice that when they wake up, they experience an overall feeling of exhaustion.  This is due to the limited deep sleep that those with untreated OSA experience, as your body needs to continuously wake you up in order to stop the instance of apneas.  This tiredness can carry into your day to day life, affecting your mood and job performance.  Some people have even reported falling asleep behind the wheel, so this symptom can become quite dangerous.

Because of these symptoms, untreated OSA is a lot more serious than many people tend to believe.  Luckily, however, the use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment (CPAP) can eliminate these symptoms all together.  CPAP works by sending pressurized air through your airway to eliminate dangerous apneas.  As a result, you sleep more soundly and are therefore better rested throughout the day.  The pressurized air also eliminates snoring, providing better rest for your partner as well.  After initial adjustment, CPAP users often find they perform better at work and have better relationships with loved ones due to a healthier overall mood.  Start your journey to better health with us today!

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of all OSA symptoms, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what to look out for. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

I’m always tired. Do I have Sleep Apnea?

Before Your Visit with the Doctor

In last week’s blog post, we took a look at the steps that happen after your visit with the doctor. But, what about before that initial visit? How do you know if you need to go to the doctor in the first place? If you are always incredibly tired during your normal daily routine, that struggle might be a red flag that you’re unknowingly struggling with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). How can you be receiving a solid seven and a half to eight hours, seemingly uninterrupted, yet still be exhausted during the next day?

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The Nitty Gritty

Here is what might be happening: after you’re asleep, the muscles that hold strong and maintain the air passageway behind the soft palate and the tongue soften. If the air passageway is of normal, healthy size, the softening creates no problems, and is a normal, healthy occurrence in all human adults. Alternatively, if the passageway is smaller, it can collapse. Small passageways are often artificially created by obesity since there is too much weight bearing down on the neck. Other times, genetics play a role, as Obstructive Sleep Apnea might be a predominant trait in your family.

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The Subtle Damage

You will continue to try to breath against the closed air passageway. It will become increasingly vigorous as blood oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide levels increase, which is your body’s response to the alarming occurrence at hand. The arduous effort to breathe causes you to eventually awaken, which flexes the muscles behind the tongue. Because the waking period is brief, you return to sleep immediately, and are unaware that anything out of the ordinary took place. If this “hiccup” happens again and again during the night, sleep becomes disjointed and choppy, and you experience the daytime sleepiness that you know all too well.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of what exactly happens to cause your daytime tiredness. At this point, if this sounds like something you might be struggling with, you may want to see a doctor to determine the beneficial next steps on the road to wakefulness.

What are treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Therapy Overview

Many patients who use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often wonder what other alternatives exist to treat the disease.  You might be surprised to find out that there are a variety of treatments available, spanning the spectrum from invasive to completely non-invasive.  Each type of treatment and therapy has its own pros and cons, and the best type of therapy often depends on the patient’s individual needs and preferences.

CPAP Therapy

Chances are, if you find yourself on this blog, you are pretty familiar with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea.  Pressurized air is delivered through the patient’s mouth to their airway passages from an external machine.  Tubing connects the machine and the wearable mask, and the patient has assistance in the form of pressurized air to push through any blockages that may develop in the airway passages, also known as a hypopnea.  Pros include the non-invasive method of therapy and proven benefits of long term use, but often patients have trouble successfully adopting their new treatment into their lifestyle on a permanent basis.

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Oral Appliance

A popular trend in the obstructive sleep apnea world is to recommend Oral Appliances for treatment instead of traditional CPAP therapy.  The oral appliance functions similarly to a mouth guard and patients undergo a fitting process to ensure an optimal fit.  The oral appliance manually slides the jaw forward, and removes any blockages or hypopneas that occur due to obstructive sleep apnea.  Pros include the lifetime affordability of the treatment and the non-invasive nature of delivery, but they are said to potentially cause permanent jaw damage among long time users.

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Surgery

The most extreme of the various treatment options, surgery is mostly reserved for patients who can’t use either CPAP therapy or an Oral Appliance due to previously existing medical conditions.  The surgery to correct Obstructive Sleep Apnea can take several forms, but the main goal is to remove tissue at the back of the throat.  Technically named, “uvulopalatopharyngoplasty” (UPPP), the surgery seeks to widen the airway passage, deter some muscle action to improve the openness of the throat, and promote movement of the soft palate. Benefits of this procedure include a higher rate of certainty of success, but it is often costly and incredibly invasive, requiring many doctor visits.  Even then, the surgery’s success is not guaranteed and many patients need to return to CPAP therapy in order to continue treatment.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to benefit the most from your CPAP therapy and get the best night’s sleep possible. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs and therapy requirements.