Sleep apnea is an invasive disorder. It robs you of the deep sleep your mind and body require to sustain good health, energy, and the ability to interactive, diligently, and happily, with others. If untreated, it is dangerous for you. Being exhausted in the daytime, and constantly fighting to stay awake, after a night’s sleep, are two very real symptoms of this serious health challenge.
Getting Woke – What You Need to Know
For the ever-increasing number of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, getting diagnosed, and treated with thebest CPAP machine available, is life affirming. The continuous, positive airway pressure provided, opens the blocked throat, and re-establishes the ability to breathe for endless nights of deep, restorative sleep. Patients, diagnosed with a form of sleep apnea, obstructive, central, or a combination of both types, want you to know:
1 Snoring Can Be a “Wake-Up” Call – It is a precursor that “red flags” the onset of airway constriction. It is disruptive, alerting the sufferer to a blockage in breathing. This occlusion triggers the heart to work harder, and causes oxygen desaturation to the brain, organs, and circulatory system. Don’t ignore it. Know too, that sleep apnea affects children, teens, and adults, not just those who are over-50, overweight, or males only. Your partner can be exposed to sleep apnea, when they too, are sleep deprived, due to your restlessness, and snoring. An early medical consultation, and diagnosis, can lead to lifestyle changes that alleviate much of the discomfort, and severity of this disorder.
2 Get Familiar with the Silent Symptoms – Not every symptom of sleep apnea is obvious, or noisy. 1 in 4 people won’t have daytime sleepiness. This is why this disorder is often under-diagnosed. Those who suffer from this disorder want you to know that a combination of vague, yet pervasive symptoms, may signify the need to seek medical assistance. The American Sleep Apnea Association has identified a number of symptoms.
- Poppin jaw sounds and pain (TMJ)
- Recurring morning soar or dry throat
- Headaches when waking
- Inability to wake up without multiple alarm notifications
- Loss of memory
- Lack of focus, energy, and enthusiasm
- Mood swings, irritability
- Increasing depression
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Reduced concentration levels
If a number of these prevalent symptoms are familiar to you, seek the skills of a primary care doctor, or ear, nose, and throat specialist, as a trusted resource to identify this disorder. A polysomnography, and sleep evaluation, will reveal, or cancel, your concerns. You will be pro-actively addressing your health issues, early and with efficacy.
3 Lifestyle Changes Offer Increased Quality of Life – After being diagnosed with this sleep disorder, you can increase your health, and happiness, by being your own life coach, and self-care provider. Apply these tweaks to your nighttime sleep regime, and awake refreshed, and ready for the day:
- Adjust the room temperature to a comfortable setting
- Turn off all the lights, for a dark, atmosphere
- Do not use sleeping pills which relax the throat muscles, causing problems
- Avoid alcohol usage which slows your breathing
- Limit screen time, by at least an hour or more, before sleeping
- Avoid sleeping on your back, to keep the tongue from covering the breathing passages.
There are other lifestyle tweaks that can also alleviate the destructive nature of this disorder. Losing weight, avoid drinking sugary drinks, exercise, and engaging in activities that destress, and relax you, also add enormous depth to the quality of your life.
4 Statistically Relevant Sleep Apnea Facts to Know – Not everyone who suffers from the different forms of sleep apnea, is sleepy in the daytime. Yet, the American Sleep Apnea Association, just released studies in December 2020, which offer startling statistics, to bring awareness to the prevalence of this dangerous sleep disorder.
The science indicates that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. These patients are 4 times more likely to have a stroke, and 43% have hypertension. 26% of people ages 30-70 have been diagnosed. 10-20% of children who snore, are afflicted. 38,000 people, yearly, die from cardiovascular disease, which has resulted from numerous episodes of airway obstruction, that weakened the heart. Sadly, the numbers of those who die could be reduced, drastically, but 80% of people with sleep apnea are never diagnosed.
5 While You are Sleeping – The pauses in breathing, which sleep apnea creates, occur at least 30 times an hour, or even more frequently. These events last from 30 seconds to more than a minute. The heart is constantly stimulated to activate the brain, and force the resumption of breathing. You may be totally unaware that for a time, no oxygen was inhaled. No deep sleep was achieved. No restorative happened within the mind and body.
Time for Adulting – Got Symptoms Get Tested
Awareness, recognition, and the realization that snoring, and other symptoms, can put you in harms way for suffering, and premature death, is the over-arching bridge to finding solutions for reducing sleep apnea’s catastrophic effects. Those who have it, want you to get tested. Home tests are now available. Treatment techniques such as CPAP machines, CPAP masks, portable CPAPs for travel, and other alternative treatments, are available.
Medical science can and does provide the tools to wellness. Now you know that this sleep disorder is about survival. Do the footwork to contain it, reduce its efficacy, and breathe easier.