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?

brown-bear-912444_1280

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.

lion-1204818_1280

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.

Is a Home Sleep Test as Good as a Lab Test?

The first step of diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is to see your doctor if you are experiencing signs of fatigue and tiredness during your normal daily activities. If you are regularly receive seven to eight hours of nightly sleep, and you are not waking up refreshed, ready to tackle a new day, then your body is telling you something. You might be waking up hundreds of times per night in micro-episodes, more commonly known as hypopneas. Essentially, the air flow to your lungs is cut off because the passage ways in your throat have collapsed, causing you to choke and sputter, but not wake up. If this occurrence of events sounds like it might be happening, your first step will be to see a doctor.

The Traditional Sleep Lab

If your doctor agrees with your assessment, he or she will prescribe a sleep test. There are two main types of sleep test. The first, and more traditional, is a lab-based sleep test where you go for overnight testing to perform an assessment as to the severity of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This setting is usually called a, “Sleep Lab.” Once there, the attendant will attach various wires to you in an attempt to measure restfulness, oxygen levels, and other vital indicators. A total count of your hypopneas will be monitored, and after the test is complete, the results will be sent to a specialized sleep doctor to interpret the results. The problem with traditional sleep tests in Sleep Labs is that often, patients do not receive a quality night’s rest because of the new environment and intrusive monitoring equipment. As a result, there are more false positive results and some patients who might not have sleep apnea are encouraged to start continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy when they normally do not need the treatment.

frog-1073350_1280

The Home Sleep Test

The other alternative is a home sleep test. It is everything that the traditional lab-based sleep test is not. You’re allowed to stay in your own bed and the only difference is to wear a small electronic device that will monitor your restfulness levels through the night. The next morning, you can send the device back to a registered sleep lab to assess the night’s sleep quality and determine whether or not you’re a candidate for CPAP or Oral Appliance therapy. Patients strongly prefer this method since it’s non-invasive and only costs a fraction of what Sleep Labs normally charge. The technology is now robust enough to consistently and accurately assess a patient’s needs in the comfort of his or her own home without having to venture out to a sleep lab, and is quickly becoming the more popular option.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above comparison is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better idea of the different sleep tests available. If you have individual concerns, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

Is your Nightly Workout Affecting your Sleep?

Many people don’t like having to wake up earlier than they need to.  Between work, kids, and all of your other activities it can be difficult to fit in a good workout, which causes many people to have to squeeze one in before going to sleep.  Though it’s true that exercising during the day can help tire you out and allow rest to come more easily, it has often been thought that exercise before bed may make falling asleep more difficult.

Exercise has a number of effects on the body that alter your temporary chemistry and activity level.  Increases in certain hormones, blood circulation, and muscle use are all factors that are good for you in the long run and provide helpful benefits.  The increased heart rate and body temperature were once thought to cause too much excitement to allow sleep shortly after, but luckily a new study has helped to answer this age-old question.

It turns out that for most people, exercising late at night has little to no effect on their ability to fall asleep.  In fact, most studies show that any physical activity, no matter what time, actually helps you fall asleep more quickly and stay more soundly asleep since you’ve tired yourself out.  Some people, however, are more affected by the physical excitement that comes with exercise.  If you find you are someone who has a more difficult time falling asleep after exercise you may want to ensure it’s a few hours before your usual bedtime.  Exercise to help stay more soundly asleep is a great way to ensure wakefulness during the day.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better idea of how to stay as rested as possible. If you have individual concerns, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

________________________________________

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.

What are Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea affects about 25 million adults in the US alone, and many of the symptoms are not as obvious as you would hope. Probably the most common symptom that most adults experience is fatigue and tiredness during the day.  This tiredness can cause irritability, headaches, and general fatigue that many people report having a negative impact on their job performance or personal relationships.  At night, sufferers of OSA often experience frequent waking, sore throat, extremely loud snoring, and even night sweats.  

belly-2473_1280

 

 

 

 

Because of some of these symptoms, it is often the case that your partner will notice these issues even before you do.  That means that if he or she is complaining about how loud you snore, you may want to take it more seriously than as if it were just an annoyance if you have been experiencing any other symptoms of OSA.  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment (CPAP) has been shown to virtually eliminate many symptoms of OSA outside of the instances of apneas leaving you and your partner more refreshed during the day.

OSA in children can exhibit many of the same symptoms, but it can also manifest in different ways.  For example, drooling or choking during the night is more prevalent in childhood sleep apnea than adults.  Just like adults, however, your child may start feeling sluggish and even fall behind in school due to the restless night’s sleep he or she is experiencing.  It is important to talk to your doctor if you notice these symptoms in yourself, your partner, or your child, especially since some symptoms are obviously not specific to only OSA and there could be a different issue surfacing.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of the symptoms of OSA, 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.

________________________________________

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.

Why Should I Treat My Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, even it it may not seem as threatening as some.  On the surface, sleep conditions are often seen as less serious issues, but obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to a number of health related issues that can be greatly helped by using CPAP therapy.

Many people think that the longer you stay awake, the more calories you burn, but in reality your sleep deprivation could be a factor in those extra few pounds.  A new study from the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center in Pittsburgh has suggested that a lack of sleep can offset hormone regulation, an instability that can increase weight retention.  Because hormones help regulate your appetite, energy level, and mood they can have huge effects on the body, so consider that next time you watch that extra hour of television.  

More current studies from the National Academy of Science elaborate even further.  Fewer hours of sleep leave the body wanting to compensate for the lost rest with greater food intake.  This calorie influx is the largest factor in unwanted weight, but the decreased energy level also leaves little left for exercise.  Don’t think extra hours of rest will shake off those unwanted pounds, but over time a healthy level of sleep can keep you slim.  Because weight can be an influencing factor on sleep apnea severity, be sure to stay well rested to keep your body in great shape.

There have also been numerous studies published revealing further evidence for a link between sleep apnea and heart related disease.  It turns out that the lack of oxygen caused by untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause blunting of the neurons at the base of the brain that control heart rate.  This means those nerves have a slower reaction time and less control over your heartbeat or other related functions.  These slower reflexes can have a huge impact in causing conditions like irregular heartbeat and hypertension.

Because obstructive sleep apnea lowers blood oxygen concentration, these nerves can essentially begin to starve, causing their reaction times to lose their spunk.  The added restless time caused by OSA only heightens stress on the body and therefore the nerves.  By continuing your CPAP treatment, you can help minimize apnea episodes and therefore reduce the stress put on your neurons.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the importance of CPAP therapy. If you have individual concerns about any link between OSA and other issues you may be having, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

________________________________________

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.

Three Sleep Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Overview

Our previous installment of the top sleep gadgets and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) accessories was incredibly popular, so we decided that we would feature a few more of our patients’ favorite sleep therapy enhancers. Spanning the spectrum of comfort, care, cleaning, and more, these have been some of our best hottest picks over the years, and for good reason. Come along for the ride as we explore some hidden gems that will undoubtedly lead to more restful sleep and a better CPAP experience.

Meet Your New Traveling Companion

As any traveler with sleep apnea has had the displeasure of experiencing, the transportation security administration (TSA) requires you to remove your CPAP machine during security checks, just like your laptop and tablet. Many CPAP wielding travelers love the Devilbiss Intellipap for its light weight, durability, and ease of setup. Do you hate the hassle of removing it from your suit case? Hassle yourself no longer as you can now easily stow your Intellipap in this sleek grey bag that has enough compartments for your CPAP mask, machine, and tubing. A cool grey design will help you keep your cool at the airport during the long security waits. Join our top reviewer Kevin today and yield your stylish Devilbiss travel case on your next tropical vacation.

DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Bag dv51d-610_1

Your Own Personal Anti-Hurricane

The Siestamed Hurricane CPAP Equipment Dryer can’t be matched. If you don’t have the time to air dry your CPAP equipment after its daily hygienic washing, your next best move is to use the Hurricane Dryer. Safely remove all moisture from your equipment at a temperature that won’t damage your mask and tubing, nor compromise the quality of care. Due to its drying effectiveness, it will be ready well before you turn In for the night, allowing you peace of mind that your equipment is clean and will function at its peak performance to ensure your quality sleep and sleep apnea therapy.

Siestamed Hurricane CPAP Equipment Dryer he002_1

The Softest Boomerang

If you’ve ever thought that CPAP masks could be just a touch softer across the bridge of your nose, you’re not alone. The creators of the Boomerang Gel Pad agree with you and created the perfect product to reduce redness in a seriously comfortable way. With flawless reviews, this product is one of all time winners. Patients have noted less irritation, redness, and improved sleep since adopting the low profile gel pad.

AG Industries Boomerang Gel Pad aggelpad-ml_1

Final Thoughts

While we have only outlined three, there are many CPAP products that can enhance your therapy. At this point, hopefully you have a better understanding of a few things you can do to improve your quality of rest. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

Will an APAP Machine Work Best for You?

There are a few different kinds of machines available for those undergoing continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy.  One of the most popular options is an Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) machine.  These machines have recently become one of the favorites for treating obstructive apnea and are a great non invasive treatment.

APAP machines work by delivering pressurized air to your airway with the help of a mask.  This pressurized air helps to keep your airway open and prevents the instance of apneas.  These apneas, when your airway collapses, actually prevent you from breathing normally and can cause you to wake up, leaving you tired and groggy the next day.  Unlike other CPAP machines, auto machines are able to adjust their therapy pressure with each breath.

This auto adjustment is able to account for a variety of patient factors.  For instance, some machines are unable to deliver effective therapy depending on your sleeping position.  APAP machines, however, are able to sense any drop in pressure and adjust to a higher setting to continue working as effectively as possible.  APAP machines can also account for factors such as patient weight, alcohol consumption, or any other factor that may have an effect on the appropriate amount of therapy pressure.  APAP machines are a good option for people who have not found effective treatment with a traditional CPAP machine.  These machines are also a good option for those suffering from more severe sleep apnea.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of Automatic Positive Airway Pressure machines. They are a great machine to look into, but it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

________________________________________

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.

The Sleep Gadgets You Wish You Knew About

Overview

Once a patient becomes accustomed to his or her Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, his or her next question usually is, “How can I make my therapy better? Is there anything that I can do to make it a better experience?” There are a number of products on the CPAP market that can make your experience better and increase the likelihood that you will have a long, comfortable, and therapeutic night’s sleep. Some of these cutting edge products relate to cleanliness and comfort, and others relate to product longevity and perfecting the fit. We’re going to outline some of our more popular selections in the article below so you can get the most out of your CPAP therapy.

The Best Pillow You Have Never Tried

The CPAP Psyche Sleep Pillow was designed specifically with the CPAP user in mind. The contoured pillow allows for your mask to hang over the edge. Designed as such, the cushion won’t push up against the mask and break the seal that’s necessary to maintain the integrity of the therapy. Despite being associated with Sleep Apnea Therapy, we promise that this is one component that’s incredibly comfortable. Available in Small, Large, Standard, and Extra Large, you’re sure to find a size that fits your needs.

Psyche Sleep Pillow s3ds_3

Your New Favorite Facial Moisturizer

The CPAP Roezit Skin Moisturizer is perfect if you have ever felt like your CPAP mask causes skin irritation on your face. Fortified with Vitamins A and E, the moisturizer helps keep pesky irritation, redness, and dryness at bay while remaining affordable. The fragrance free cream has a base of aloe vera and emu oil, which helps reduce the aforementioned irritation. One of our most popular CPAP Care products and by far the most affordable, what do you have to do lose?

Roezit Skin Moisturizer -1oz Tube trp-r018_1

The Sleep Gadget You Wish You Knew About

How often have you just place your CPAP mask on your face, turned on the pressure, and laid down in bed, only to find that you actually wanted to take a sip of water before starting therapy and turning off the lights. It’s frustrating, and you want to kick yourself, right? Well the Sleep Sense EZ-Talk Valve   provides a clever solution to your problem. With the flick of a switch in one direction, you can easily turn off the pressure, lift the mask off your face, and take a sip of water. With the flick of a switch in the other direction, your pressure turns back on and you can return to that nourishing sleep therapy.

SleepSense EZ-Talk Valve 7710_1

Final Thoughts

While we have only outlined three, there are many CPAP products that can enhance your therapy. At this point, hopefully you have a better understanding of a few things you can do to improve your quality of rest. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

How Can I Have a More Restful Night’s Sleep?

Many people transitioning into CPAP therapy find it difficult to adjust to.  If you’re feeling restless, however, it may have less to do with your CPAP equipment and more to do with your daily habits.  It could be due to a number of little things you do during the day that don’t have an effect until much later at night.  Below, we outline a number of these common problems.  You may find that following these simple tips could help your body know when it’s time to rest.

Shut off your electronics

It is recommended that you have no contact with your cellphones, laptops, tablets, or other electronics at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep.  Many doctors think that the bright screens are capable of heightening your brain activity, making it harder to adjust back to a relaxed state for sleep.  By holding off on your electronics, you could help train your brain to know when it’s time for bed.

Keep the room dark

This follows a similar concept as above; by keeping the room as dark as possible, you ensure that you have as few disruptions as possible.  This can allow your brain and body to relax and settle down, allowing sleep to come easier.  If you sleep during the light hours of the day, try products like blackout blinds to keep the sun out.

Take a nap

This tip may seem counterproductive, but not if it’s done in the right way.  Naps under 30 minutes can actually help you sleep better at night by preventing exhaustion.  Sleeping more than 30 minutes during the day, however, can cause you to wake during the deeper parts of your sleep cycle, causing you to wake feeling less well rested.  Many doctors also recommend you nap in a different area than where you sleep.  This recapitulates your body’s understanding that when you’re in your bed, it’s time to sleep.

CPAP therapy can make great strides towards your feelings of restfulness and alertness.  It does take time to transition, but the benefits greatly outweigh any initial discomfort.  If you’re following these above tips and still finding it difficult to fall asleep, talk with your doctor about other things you might consider.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of a few things you can do to improve your quality of rest. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

________________________________________

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.

Can I safely use CPAP if I have a beard?

Just because you have a great looking beard doesn’t mean you can’t also have a great feeling sleep experience.   The great news you have been waiting for is yes, you absolutely can enjoy the benefits of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy while sporting a manly mane.   While sleep experts, also known as respiratory therapists, initially discouraged having a beard in conjunction with CPAP therapy, users predictably chose their beards over continued use of a CPAP mask and CPAP machine.  Instead of trying to persuade CPAP patients to abandon their beards, the industry has begun to incorporate such facial features into their mask design and allowing users the benefit of choice when it comes to their CPAP experience.

158657876_XS

Compatibility

As Philips Respironics’ chief medical liaison Teofilo Lee-Chiong, Jr, MD best said, “Masks should be chosen to fit a specific face, rather than the other way around.”  As a result, many masks available on the CPAP Supplies website are compatible with your fierce beard.  Your best bet is to stay away from masks that rest on your upper lip, since the facial hair on your upper lip can create an uneven seal and air can slip out of your mask.  When air escapes, it lowers the pressure prescribed by your doctor, and the CPAP machine doesn’t effectively treat your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms nearly as well as it normally would.

Which one do I use?

CPAP mask designers recommend that patients with a beard use a full face CPAP mask to make sure the facial hair doesn’t disrupt the air flow in the CPAP therapy.  Fisher & Paykel’s FlexiFit line provides an ideal fit for bearded CPAP users, since it doesn’t lie on the lip.  Another potential option is to use the RemZzzs’ sleep pads that act as a natural sealant around the mask, but are created to reduce irritation and inflammation where the mask lining meets the face.  The facial hair will remain flat below the padding, which ensures that the seal remains intact.

If you do decide that clean shaven is your new look, shave nightly before CPAP therapy to make sure that the mask lining lies as close as possible to the skin, guaranteeing the seal  remains intact and you accomplish the best possible therapy.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource regarding facial hair and CPAP therapy, but hopefully you at least have a better understanding of how to achieve higher quality results from your CPAP mask.  It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs, and you might need to test out a couple different CPAP masks before determining the best mask for your facial structure.