Sleep is an imperative part of your life. Not only is it essential for restoring your body's strength, but insufficient sleep can also lead to emotional distress. Even though an estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, most people are not truly familiar with this serious disorder. With this guide, you will learn a few surprising facts about the causes, signs, and treatment options for sleep apnea.
You May Not Realize You Have It
One of the most surprising facts about sleep apnea is that you may have the disorder without even realizing it. The disorder is characterized by pauses in your breathing while you are asleep, so you may not notice these dangerous breathing problems. However, there are other symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you are noticing the following issues, you may need to undergo a sleep study to determine if you have apnea:
- Daytime fatigue/sleepiness
- Loud snoring that your spouse/partner is complaining about
- Headaches upon waking from sleep
- High blood pressure
- Irritability, depression, mood swings
It is important to note that sleep apnea is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if left untreated. Therefore, do not wait to consult a sleep apnea doctor if you have one or more of these symptoms.
Weight Loss May Help
Obesity is the most common cause of sleep apnea in adults. If you are overweight, you most likely have excess fat and tissue around the neck, which affects the throat and your airway.
This excess fat reduces the space in your airway, preventing you from breathing properly while you are asleep, causing the breathing lapses associated with apnea.
Thankfully, weight loss can help. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can greatly improve your symptoms of sleep apnea.
PAP Therapy Is Best
PAP therapy is the most common treatment for patients living with obstructive sleep apnea. PAP, or positive airway pressure, devices force air to keep your airway open while you are sleeping. This reduces the breathing lapses while improving your quality of sleep.
Most people are surprised to know there are different forms of PAP therapy. Continuous Positive Airways Pressure, or CPAP, is the most common device used by sleep apnea patients. As the name suggests, air is continuously forced into the airway during your sleep.
Automatic PAP therapy changes the air pressure moving into your airway throughout the night according to your sleep patterns. Also, bi-level PAP therapy is also an option to consider. Bi-level pressure uses a different amount of pressure for expiration and inspiration.
Living with sleep apnea is possible, but it can lead to a poor quality of life. This guide will help you understand the signs, causes, and treatments if you believe you have sleep apnea.