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Are you suffering from sleep apnea?

July 8, 2019 by

Do you find yourself to be tired during the day and you aren’t sure why? You may go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up after the sun rises, but you’re still lethargic.

One possible cause for this is sleep apnea. Often, those who suffer from sleep apnea don’t know it and they only discover it when someone tells them that they snore. However, some symptoms include waking up with a sore throat, waking up with a gasping sensation, snoring, lack of energy during the day, headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes, and insomnia.

You need to get adequate sleep for your body to be healthy. However, there are some things such as sleep apnea that can prevent you from having a full night’s sleep that can also lead to further health complications. While you may think that you are sleeping through the night, sleep apnea will prevent you from getting the deep, restorative sleep that you need.

People suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while they are asleep, and sometimes this can happen hundreds of times in a night. This causes the brain and the rest of the body to be deprived of oxygen. This leads to snoring, which is a harsh sound that develops when one’s breathing is obstructed during sleep. Around 50% of people snore at some point in their lives. Men snore more than women and it usually runs in families, increasing in intensity with age. However, just because snoring is common does not mean it should be ignored because it could be a sign of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person experiences a partial or complete obstruction in their airway. This then leads to impaired breathing during sleep, which can make the quality of one’s sleep suffer. Snoring is often known as the first sign of sleep apnea.

There are two main kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and it is caused by some sort of blockage in the airway. This is usually due to soft tissue collapsing in the back of one’s throat while they’re sleeping. Alternatively, central sleep apnea is not the result of a blocked airway, rather this is when the brain does not signal your muscles to breathe properly, due to an unreliability in one’s respiratory control center.

Children and adults can both suffer from sleep apnea, however, it occurs in 65% of senior men and 56% of senior women, while it only affects 10-20% of children who snore. There are several root causes of sleep apnea, including diet, mechanical problems, and an existing disease.

Unfortunately, only 20% of people with sleep apnea have a proper diagnosis and get treatment for this condition. Fatigue and the inability to concentrate are two of the many negative side effects of sleep apnea. These two side effects alone can increase one’s likelihood of being in a car accident.

In fact, in 2017, tired drivers were behind the wheel during 91,000 police-reported car crashes, causing 50,000 injuries and almost 800 deaths.

Some risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Being male
  • Large tonsils
  • Family history
  • Deviated septum, sinus issues, allergies, or other nasal obstructions
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Over the age of 40
  • Having a neck that is greater than 17 inches for men and greater than 16 inches for women

A sleep apnea test can be performed on those who believe they suffer from this disorder. Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, including losing weight or changing the position in which one sleeps, sleeping with a CPAP therapy machine, or surgery. It is best for those suffering from sleep apnea to avoid drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills, to change the position in which they sleep to encourage proper breathing, stop smoking, and avoid sleeping on their back.

Sleep apnea can be treated, and it is never too early to return to healthy levels of rest. People often use natural treatments and lifestyle changes to help address or get rid of this disorder. If you feel tired during the day, it may be because you are suffering from sleep apnea.

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