Sleep apnea is one of the most common yet serious sleep disorders that affects 1 in 15 Americans. It disrupts the sleep cycle and often leads to daytime fatigue, poor concentration, and other health issues.
Some people with minor symptoms of this condition often shrug it off as simple snoring, but it’s much more than that. So, if you or your loved one is experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to contact your healthcare professionals immediately.
Having said that, in this article, we’ll shed some light on this condition, including the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. Additionally, we will discuss practical tips for managing sleep apnea on a daily basis, so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and improve your overall well-being. So, let’s begin!
What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?
This condition is characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep. These interruptions are medically referred to as apneas and can occur multiple times throughout the night. These can last for a few seconds to a minute.
There are generally two common types, i.e., obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).
OSA is caused by the relaxing of throat muscles while you sleep. And CSA results from the brain’s not sending proper signals to control breathing. Nevertheless, it can lead to serious health conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, liver problems, and more.
As this condition is associated with sleep, you might not even realize you have it. That’s why a visit to the doctor is a must.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
There are numerous factors, such as obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, nasal congestion, and a family history of the condition, that can lead to this condition.
What’s surprising is that certain traumatic events, such as the 9/11 tragedy, also have been associated with an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Yes, you read it right! Exposure to cement dust, glass fibers, smoke, and heavy metals after the attack is linked to the OSA.
If you believe that your condition is a result of this exposure, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of experienced 9/11 attorneys as soon as possible. Why, you may ask? Well, a lawyer can help you get rightful financial compensation under the Zadroga Act. It’ll assist in covering the costs of treatment and support your journey to recovery.
Recognizing The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
In order to get treatment, you need to first identify the signs of this condition. It generally includes:
- Loud and chronic snoring
- Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat
- Mood swings
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing The Condition
If you think you might have sleep apnea, your doctor might suggest a sleep study or polysomnography. It is a non-invasive test that monitors your sleep. You might have to stay overnight at a sleep center, or your doctor might give you equipment to use at home.
This test records your brain waves, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing as you sleep. It also monitors how your body moves. It’ll help your doctor determine what’s causing your sleep problems and their severity.
Sleep apnea might sound scary, but the good news is that it’s treatable. For milder cases, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and cutting down on alcohol can help a lot.
On the other hand, for moderate and severe apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines might be recommended. It involves wearing a mask over your nose or mouth while you sleep, which delivers a continuous flow of air to keep your airway open.
In addition to this, oral appliances, positional therapy, and in some cases, surgery to remove excess tissue blocking the airway might be suggested. All this depends on the cause and severity of your condition.
Coping Strategies To Follow
Living with sleep apnea might seem challenging, but it’s entirely possible. While getting your treatment, you can follow these coping tips to improve your sleep quality and overall well-being.
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
- Creating a comfortable sleep environment
- Practising relaxation techniques before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and electronic device before bedtime
All these activities will help improve your sleep and, eventually, your condition.
Wrapping It All Up
With the right knowledge and support, you can successfully navigate the challenges of sleep apnea and enjoy restful nights and revitalized days. So, prioritize your sleep and take the necessary steps to regain control of your sleep and overall health.