If you or your loved one has sleep apnea, you may be wondering what that means. Find out all about sleep apnea or get some quick answers here
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
What is the cycle of OSA?
What causes the airway to collapse during sleep?
- Extra tissue in the back of the airway such as large tonsils
- Decrease in the tone of the muscles holding the airway open
- The tongue falling back and closing off the airway
- Abnormal anatomy such as a recessed jaw
How common is sleep apnea?
- 1 in 15 people have moderate to severe OSA (Young et al. JAMA 2004
- 9% women and 25% men in the middle-aged working population have OSA (Marshall et al. Sleep 2008)
- Sleep apnea is as common as diabetes and asthma.
- Most OSA sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.
- 50% of patients with Type II Diabetes have OSA
- 35% of patients with high blood pressure have OSA 6
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
- Loud irregular snoring
- Witnessed apneic or choking periods
- Morning headaches
- Frequent awakenings during the night
- Rapid onset of sleep
- Leg cramping
- Falling asleep while driving
What happens if OSA is not treated
How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?
What is the treatment for sleep apnea?
- Lifestyle changes
- Body positioning
- Dental appliances
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
LIFESTYLE CHANGE Many of the lifestyle changes that improve OSA will also improve one’s overall health. Lifestyle changes are often the hardest things to accomplish, but perseverance can make a dramatic improvement in people with OSA. Regardless of the final treatment or treatments chosen, the items described below are worthwhile goals.
OBESITY Obstructive sleep apnea is often associated with obesity. Overweight individuals often have respiratory problems due to thick chest walls and increased compression on the diaphragm from abdominal contents. The thick neck often seen in obesity also increases airway resistance. Weight loss, even in small amounts, can therefore have a profound effect on improving sleep apnea.
ALCOHOL Alcohol when consumed in excess can exacerbate snoring and OSA. The muscles of the upper airway have been shown to loose muscle tone after consumption of even a small amount of alcohol. Individuals with sleep apnea should avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. interested in quitting smoking, talk to your family physician or one of our respiratory therapists.
MEDICATIONS As with alcohol, certain medications like narcotic pain relievers and barbituates often worsen OSA. Talk with your physician to decide if you are currently taking any medications that should be avoided.
What can I do for my Sleep Apnea?
- Establish a regular routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Regular sleep is key to better health overall.
- Do not nap during the day as this results in poor sleep at night.
- Go to bed when you are sleepy. If you have difficulty falling asleep or wake up shortly after going to sleep, leave the bedroom and read quietly or do some other relaxing activity. Avoid overly bright lights as this can cue your wake cycle.
- Develop sleep rituals before going to bed. Do the same things in the same order before going to bed to cue your body to slow down and relax.
- Avoid stress and worries at bedtime. Address tomorrow’s activities, concerns, or distractions earlier in the day. Certain activities, such as listening to soft music, reading, or taking a warm bath, can help you wind down.
- Use your bed for sleeping only. Often, doing other activities in bed like watching TV, paying bills, or working only serve to initiate worries and concerns. Let your mind associate the bed with sleeping and relaxing.
- Avoid heavy meals late in the evening; similarly, avoid going to bed hungry. A light snack, especially dairy foods, can help you sleep.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine and nicotine 4-6 hours before going to sleep. Stimulants interfere with your ability to fall asleep and progress into deep sleep.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, even for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, promotes deep sleep. Avoid exercise in the evening within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Don’t nap for more than 30 minutes or after 3 p.m. Avoiding naps all together will ensure that you are tired at night. Longer naps disrupt the body’s ability to stay asleep.
- Maintain a dark, quiet, and cool room for sleep.
What should I do about body positioning?
What are dental appliances?
Is there a surgical option?
What is CPAP therapy?
We are happy to help you and provide you with more information about our sleep products and services. We can schedule an appointment for you or get you set up with a CPAP trial. You can contact us by calling us at 1-877-241-9066 or sending us an email. We’d love to hear from you and get your sleep back on track.