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Now, I’m going to talk about something that I believe I have experienced with my Insomnia issues and that is Sleep Apnea. Even though I have not been diagnosed with having Sleep Apnea I feel qualified enough to talk about it, you will see why shortly!, I feel that this condition is so important it needs to be discussed.
Apnea comes from the Greek word meaning “Without Breath” so it’s an ideal name for this serious condition
I snore terribly and my partner tells me that I seem to stop breathing for a while then suddenly gasp for breath. Of course I wake up just thinking that I have snored loudly and woken myself up. It’s always worse when I sleep on my back, but then I guess, so is snoring. Anyway, it all added up to Sleep Apnea to me so I visited the Doctors and I was sent to Hospital for check ups but they assured me I haven’t got Sleep Apnea. I’m not sure how they came to that conclusion as they didn’t do the test that I have read about online, but I guess they are the experts and know what their doing-Hopefully!
Anyway, the reason I am discussing it is that it can be a very serious condition. If you think you may have it from my description then please go to your GP or medical centre for investigation.
Overview of Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is caused by the muscles in the throat relaxing too much causing a blockage in your throat. This deprives the brain and body of oxygen and wakes you up. This may happen several times a night and the result is that you wake feeling tired and un-refreshed even though you may have spent most of the night asleep. During the day, you feel lethargic and concentration dips.
If not treated Sleep Apnea may cause any or all of the following
High Blood Pressure
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Breath Pausing then restarting
Gasping or struggling for breath
Fatigue during the day
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
Excess weight – Your risk of suffering with Sleep Apnea increases the heavier you are especially with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or higher
Gender– Males are much more common Sleep Apnea sufferers although Menopausal Women can get it.
Neck Size– You are more likely to have Sleep Apnea if your neck size is 17 (Men) & 16 (Women) because a large neck as extra soft tissue to cause the blockage
HereditaryYour more likely to get Sleep Apnea if a Parent suffered with it.
Diagnosis For Sleep Apnea
This is tricky if you live in the UK as in my experience it’s difficult to get a diagnosis and their aren’t Sleep Physicians as such. My advice is to go to your GP and ask to be referred to a Sleep Apnea Consultant.
In the US you can contact a Sleep clinic I believe, but failing that contact your primary Care Physician for more details.
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
As Sleep Apnea is such a serious condition, there may be one or a number of options to aid your condition. Your physician may work with other professionals to implement your treatment, like Dentists and dietitians.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
This is a machine that has a hose and Face mask attached. The machine pumps out a steady stream of air into your airway, thus ensuring your airway is kept open throughout the night CPAP machines are quite expensive. If you have to pay for one, I would suggest this one from Amazon as it has very good reviews and seems quite suitable for most patients. Please let me know in the comments section, if you know of a better one, or you have any reviews of this one.
Some people find CPAP machines hard to use. If you are one of these people, you may wish to consider alternatives to CPAP machines. Some of these are listed below-
Sleep Apnea Mouthguard
These are for people with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. They are preferred by some, as they can’t get used to the CPAP. It’s basically a device that fits inside the mouth and holds the airway open. These easy to wear mouth guards help stop snoring-the most common symptom of sleep apnea. It’s too big to swallow so you can’t choke. There are a lot of different mouthguards but there are very good reports on Amazon reviews about this one in particular. It only costs about $20 so well worth a small risk if it works you may have saved $600 (what dentists may charge for similar product) It’s really made to stop people grinding their teeth, but lots of reviewers are saying that it has totally cured their snoring, which in turn reduces the number of sleep apnea patients
Most people don’t have surgery because the CPAP or Oral Aids usually sort out the problem, and surgery of this type can get very complicated. It’s obviously quite a complex procedure to remove fatty tissue from the Mouth & Throat, as you can imagine, so this is viewed as a last resort by many physicians. Your physician will obviously advise you further if the Machines don’t work.
Your Dietician will no doubt advise you to lose some weight if you are overweight and this will in turn lead to a reduction of fatty tissues in the throat, thereby reducing your Sleep Apnea. Of course, this will also be a positive thing for your overall Health
Most Sleep Apnea is caused by the patient lying on their back which may be their preferred position for Sleep. As this is the worst position, you are advised to try sleeping on your side. If this is a problem for any reason, there are a couple of options for you. One is a strap that kind of helps you stay on your side by strapping you into position. The other is a small vibration device that fits round the neck and vibrates gently when you roll onto your back, thereby alerting you to the fact you are on your back.
Changes to your Lifestyle
It’s fairly obvious that if you are suffering with Sleep Apnea, you may be required to take up some Lifestyle changes, like losing weight, drinking less Alcohol (Which relaxes the throat and increases blockage).
You may also be put on a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy course where you will learn different ways to reduce your Insomnia.
Thank you for reading my blog
You may also be interested in my other post “Free Fixes For Sleep disorders”