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What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects people during sleep. This condition is where one stop breathing for a short while during sleep. A very large number of people who are affected by this sleep disorder might not be aware of it because they think it is normal, most of the times, such peoples wake up really gasping for air. There are three different types of this condition, which are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed apnea.

In obstructive sleep apnea a person stops breathing for a short while during sleep because the throat closes up or gets too narrow, with the central sleep apnea the stop in breathing comes because of the failure of the brain top send the communication for the muscles that are responsible for breathing and lastly the mixed apnea, involves both the obstructive and the central types of apnea.

There are quite a number of symptoms that are seen in people who have this condition, however, most of the people who have the disorder may not know about some of the symptoms, they can only be told by their family members or people who are close to them.

Symptoms of sleep apnea


Here are some of the most common symptoms that are seen in all types of sleep apnea.

  • Snoring loudly- this is very common regardless of the type of apnea; this can only be reported to the victim by the person sleeping next to them. However, it is not that everyone who snores is having the condition; you should go for medical consultation when you realize you are snoring loudly.
  • Gasping for air- the stops in the breathing will automatically cause gasping for the air due to insufficient supply to the breathing system; this will normally cause the victim to wake up during the night.
  • Morning headache- the victims of this kind of disorder will always wake up with headache because of the less supply of oxygen to the head. Again, it is not always the case that if you wake up with a headache you have a disorder, let it be confirmed by a medical professional first
  • Exercise tiredness during the day- if you get excessively tired when you are up during the day, there might be a possibility that you have a sleep apnea condition, this is because of the struggles you get in as you sleep.
  • Attention problems-sometimes, people who have this condition will normally have a problem with paying attention on one thing for a long time during the day, it is advisable that you go for medical check up to ascertain the condition before you make conclusions.
  • Sore throat and dry mouth- these are the conditions that will be experienced after the victim has just woken up. This is as a result of heavy breathing because of the narrowing of the throat
  • Difficulty in sleeping- this is quite automatic, a victim will always have interrupted sleep at night because of waking up regularly, every time a person stops breathing, they will wake up gasping for breath and this is why they can’t get a peaceful sleep.

Those are the most common symptoms that will be observed in a victim of these conditions. So what causes this disorder?

Risk factors in sleep apnea


 There are quite a number of risk factors that will result into any of the three types of sleep apnea, some of them are;

  • Too much weight- this is one of the common factor that results into this kind of disorder. The reason is that, obese people have too much fat which is deposited around the throat muscles which makes it hard for them to breath due to narrowing of the throat.
  • Old age- this is also a common cause of sleep apnea, older people have the muscles around the throat relaxed, this will make it hard for the air to pass throat hence a person stops breathing for a while.
  • Excessive use of alcohol- people who consume a lot of alcohol are likely to have this disorder, this is because alcohol causes the muscles of the throat to relax making it difficult to breath.

These are just a few among many.

 

Posted in: Sleep Apnea
The Top 8 Common Sleeping Disorders

Sleeping disorders involve the problem with quality, timing and amount of sleep that cause problems with proper functioning, distress and lethargy during the day time. It can happen because of many associated medical conditions which may lead to disruption of sleep, excessive amount of day time sleepiness and overall these problems come under the category of Sleep disorders.

These disorders include snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep behaviors known as parasomnias, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, circadian disorders and others. This can happen because of many factors as physical, psychological or any linked disease.

Types of Sleep disorders


There are different types of sleeping disorders;

  • Snoring and Sleep Apnea. 
  • Insomnia
  • Parasomnias
  • Sleep Paralysis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome.
  • Circadian Rhythm Disorders
  • Narcolepsy
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Most people experience sleep problems because of stress, hectic routine or other outside influences. However, ifthese issues begin to occur on a regular basis and interfere with daily life, they may indicate a sleeping disorder.

Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. The lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.In most of the cases sleeping disorders can be symptoms of any other medical problem or mental health condition. It can go if treated he underlying cause.

Amount of Sleep According to Age Bracket


The amount of sleep a person needs depends on many factors, including age. A as general guide, the following sleep allotments may be considered on average:

  • Infants (ages 0-3 months) require 14-17 hours a day.
  • Infants (ages 4-11 months) require 12-15 hours a day
  • Toddlers (ages 1-2 years) require about 11-14 hours a day.
  • Pre-school children (ages 3-5) require 10-13 hours a day.
  • School-age children (ages 6-13) require 9-11 hours a day.
  • Teenagers (ages 14-17) need about 8-10 hours each day.
  • Most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.
  • Older adults (ages 65 and older) need 7-8 hours of sleep each day.
  • Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.

Sleep Apnea


Snoring represents the difficulty in keeping the throat open while a person is sleeping. If the condition gets serious it leads to sleep apnea which is a chronic condition in which the affected person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. This condition can last for 10 seconds causing decreased oxygen levels in the blood and the person may find difficulty in awakening from sleep.

Cause:

This can happen because of obstruction of the upper airway which results in obstructive sleep apnea or leads to failure of brain to initiate a breath which is known as Central sleep apnea. It can cause other medical conditions as hypertension, heart failure, diabetes and can also lead to serious consequences as heart attack, stroke and sudden death.

Treatment:

The treatment of Sleep Apnea should begin by making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, reduce or eliminate the consumption of alcohol, etc. See Sleep Apnea Treatment at Home.

Insomnia


It is known as the inability to obtain sufficient amount of quality sleep to feel rested and it is characterized by difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. Most of the people spend more than 20 to 30 minutes in falling asleep. It occurs for 3 times a week and if it keeps happening for more than 3 months it is called Chronic Insomnia. It is the most common sleeping disorder affecting almost 10 percent of adults. A rare type of Insomnia called Acute Insomnia (Insomnia that runs in families) lasts for less than 3 months.

Cause:

There can be many potential causes as stress, hormonal imbalance, any mental health issue or any symptom associated to a disease.

Treatment:

One common treatment for insomnia is the limited use of sleeping pills. However, to treat the underlying issues that address the causes of insomnia, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) may be recommended by your physician.

Parasomnias


It is a Latin word meaning “Around sleep”. It is characterized by abnormal sleep behaviors as unconscious complex semi-purposeful, and goal-directed behaviours that have meaning or importance to the individual. These can include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep sex, rapid eye movement (REM) behaviour disorder, or any number of potential behaviours that occur while the person remains asleep.

Cause:

The underlying cause may be another sleep condition, such as sleep apnoea.

Treatment:

Safety precautions and the use of medications like melatonin or clonazepam.

Sleep Paralysis


A terrifying condition that is known as temporary inability to move while transitioning from sleep to wakefulness, such as when falling asleep or waking up. It may be frightening as one may seem to be awake, but unable to move. There are often associated hallucinations. Sleep paralysis is common, affecting about 25 percent of normal people at least once, but it also may be a symptom of narcolepsy.

Treatment

Reassurance may be helpful and rarely are antidepressant medications used to decrease the frequency of the episodes.

Restless Legs Syndrome


It is a neurological movement disorder in which there is irresistible need to move the legs. This desire is sometimes convoyed by a tingling sensation in the legs. While these symptoms can occur during the day, they are most predominant at night.

Cause:

RLS is often linked with certain health conditions, including ADHD and Parkinson’s disease, but the exact cause isn’t always known.It may be associated with periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS).

Treatment:

Treatments include iron replacement and other medications.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders


Humans have an internal biological clock that regulates our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythms.

Light is the primary stimuli that effect circadian rhythms. At night, when there is less light, your brain triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. When the sun comes up in the morning, the brain tells the body that it's time to wake up.

When circadian rhythms are disrupted, one may feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety of sleeping problems and sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorderr,

Narcolepsy


Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness.

Cause:

It can occur by the dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. If you have narcolepsy, you may have “sleep attacks” in the middle of talking, working, or even driving.

Treatment

Although there is no cure yet, a combination of treatments can help control symptoms.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Unexplained prolonged fatigue that is not improved by rest and may be worsened by physical or mental activity. This fatigue can be severe and incapacitating, causing a substantial reduction in daily activities. It may require adaptations to conserve energy in extreme fatigue. There are a number of associated symptoms, and other medical conditions (including sleep apnea) must be excluded before Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be diagnosed.

Jet Lag


Jet lag is a temporary condition caused by instant travel across time zones. It occurswith jet trips and may leave an individual suffering fatigue, insomnia, nausea, or other symptoms as a result of the internal circadian rhythm, or body clock, being skewed with local time. 

Treatment:

Jet lag is usually improved with the passage of time, typically 1 day per time zone travelled. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder


Seasonal Affective Disorder is a recurrent mood disorder associated with depression and excessive sleepiness during winter months.

Cause:

 It is caused by a lack of bright light reaching the biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small region of the brain.

Treatment:

 Its treatment is the use of a light box manufactured specifically to artificially extend the day length.

Conclusion:


In order to prevent these issues, keep a diary with you in which you mention when to sleep and try to follow it. In case of any problem as depression, stress, anxiety or any other problem see a doctor immediately and talk to your therapist in order to avoid any sleeping disorder.

Posted in: Sleep Disorders
What happens with untreated sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea is one of the most serious sleeping disorders as the breathing of an individual stops and then starts again while he is sleeping. It can include common symptoms like loud snoring; loud choking noise and feeling tired the next day even after taking 7 or more hours of sleep. The person who suffers through sleep apnea is mostly unaware of this problem as when the breathing stops the sleeper does not know of this even if it is for a period of few seconds or even a minute. However, if sleep apnea is not treated at the right time then it can result in heart disease, high blood pressure or even accidents while the person suffering from sleep apnea is driving a car.

What happens with untreated sleep apnea?


People who suffer through sleep apnea are often unaware of it unless and until they suddenly doze off while they are driving or trying to concentrate on anything. It can be very dangerous as it can result in dangerous and seriously fatal accidents. It is very important to start the treatment that is devised for sleep apnea as soon as someone is diagnosed with it. In the case of untreated sleep apnea, it can result in the following serious conditions.

  • Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure that can be very dangerous especially if the person is sleeping.
  • It can also result in irregular heartbeats that can eventually lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
  • People who have sleep apnea feel tired even having an ample amount of sleep, which can often result in frequent headaches the next morning when they wake up.
  • When people feel tired even after taking rest the night before often feel stressed out or depressed the next day.
  • It can lead to the worsening of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. If anyone is suffering through sleep apnea they are distracted as it becomes difficult for them to concentrate and pay attention to things that need attention.
  • It can also lead to diabetes because of the stress that comes along with sleep apnea.
  • People who are overweight develop sleep apnea but they are also at a greater risk of gaining more weight because this disorder makes it difficult for people to shed their extra kilograms.
  • Having a disorder as serious as sleep apnea can result in car accidents, therefore people who are diagnosed with this disorder should avoid driving as much as they can especially somewhere near their sleeping hours.

People who notice changes in their sleeping pattern and if your partner complains of loud snoring or choking noises at night then you should consider visiting a professionally trained doctor. It is better to start your treatment as soon as possible rather than delaying it because it can result in long-lasting problems. Look for sleep apnea symptoms if you are not sure whether you have sleep apnea or not. Share the symptoms with your doctor in order to get proper diagnoses with the best treatment.

Types of Sleep Apnea


When a person is suffering through sleep apnea, his body and brain are not getting enough oxygen. There are two types of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea – obstructive sleep apnea or OSA occurs through the blockage in the airway the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses or relaxes during sleep.
  • Central Sleep Apnea – Central sleep apnea or CSA is when there is instability in the respiratory system due to which the brain is unable to give signals to the muscles that control the breathing process.

Risk Factors associated with Sleep Apnea


Children, adults or old people, anyone can be affected by sleep apnea. However, certain risk factors can put the following people at greater risk:

  • Males are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with sleep apnea as compared to women.
  • People who are overweight and obese are most commonly diagnosed with sleep apnea as they are unable to maintain their overall health.
  • The neck size of male and female also plays a vital part in developing a problem as serious as sleep apnea. Men who have a neck as long as 17 inches and women who have 16 inches long neck are more likely to develop this disorder.
  • Family history can also determine the chances of developing sleep apnea later on in life.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea


Treatments include the following:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy or CPAP focuses on keeping the airway open with the help of a pressure mask.
  • Surgery – surgery can help widen the airway that creates difficulty in breathing.
  • Mandibular Repositioning Device (MRD) – it is a mouthpiece that is worn on the mouth to widen the space that exists between the tongue and the jaw.

However, it is very important to make a few lifestyle changes as they can have a very strong impact on this disorder. People who suffer from this disorder should focus on their weight. They should work on reducing their weight as being overweight can cause a lot of problems in the future as well. 

Moreover, drinking alcohol or smoking should be avoided as much as possible. People who have sleep apnea should sleep on their side rather than sleeping straight with their face facing towards the ceiling.

Sleep apnea should not be left untreated, as it can be dangerous. It can lead to life-threatening problems like stroke, high blood pressure or even serious and fatal car accidents. There are various ways to treat sleep apnea but all the treatments have one goal and that is to normalize the patterns of breathing while the patient is sleeping. When the breathing pattern is normalized, the patients suffering from sleep apnea are likely to feel more relaxed the next day rather than feeling tired. It also helps prevent serious diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Posted in: Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment At Home


By admin, 2019-07-30
Sleep Apnea Treatment At Home

The leading cause of chronic sleep deprivation is sleep apnea, and it can lead to daytime sleepiness. The other possible consequences are slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an elevated probability of injuries. Sleep apnea can also contribute to mood changes, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, sleep apnea may cause severe health complications, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver issues, and sudden weight loss.

According to statistics, almost 45 million American population is having a clinical history of sleeping disorder, obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a treatable condition, and it can be treated at home without CPAP treatment and various strategies. The clinical signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can be alleviated and restore your regular sleeping pattern.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder which can affect both children and adults. Characteristics of sleep apnea are:

  • Periods of apnea (period of cessation of breathing).
  • Periods of hypopnea (reduced breathing period).

Both of these events are considered to have the same pathophysiology and equal impact on affected individuals.

The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea,which refers to the cessation of involuntary breathing during sleep for a specific period. The cause of obstructive sleep apnea is complete or partial upper airway collapse or blockage of the airway during sleep due to intermittent relaxation of throat muscles.

Contrary to obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnearesults due to failure of brain signals to respiratory control.

If an individual suffers from both OSA and central sleep apnea, then it is known to be as Complex sleep apneaor treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.

 

Prevalence of sleep apnea:

According to the researches, the prevalence of sleep apnea is relatively higher among the population within the range of 9 to 38 percent. Sleep apnea is more prevalent among men as compared to women, and with advancing age, its prevalence has been observed to reach as higher as in 90% of the population.

According to research published in the European Respiratory Journal, Non-CPAP therapies for sleep apnea are the best ways to treat sleep apnea. Due to a high prevalence rate of sleep apnea, it's now time to switch to Non-CPAP therapies.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In this type of sleeping disorder, there is an obstruction of the airway, which results in pauses in breathing and loud snoring. Sleep apnea is associated with the physical and psychological health of a person.

 

Sign and symptoms of sleep apnea:

The most common and frequent signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Restlessness while sleeping
  • Insomnia or waking up for longer
  • Behavioral and mood changes
  • Memory deficits.
  • Sleepiness, fatigue, or lethargy during day time
  • Loud and frequent snoring.
  • The irregular pattern of waking up from sleep with sensations of gasping or choking
  • Dry or sore throat.
  • Headaches in the morning.
  • Frequent nocturia (going to the bathroom at night)

 

Risk factors:

Highly influential and well-researched risk factors for sleep apnea are:

  • Higher BMI (by the increase of one unit in BMI, chances of developing sleep apnea increase by 14%).
  • Advancing age (risk increases with the advancement in age).
  • Males are generally more susceptible to sleep apnea as compared to women. Men have four times more chances of developing sleep apnea than women. While, in women during pregnancy and menopause, sleep apnea can be frequently prevalent).
  • Genetics (studies show that 25% to 40% of patients have a family history of these disorders in their genes).
  • Alcohol consumption (alcohol slows down the breathing as it lowers the drive to breathe. Furthermore, it relaxes the throat muscles thus causing the collapse of the upper airway, which results in snoring).
  • Tobacco use.
  • Snoring (can affect directly by narrowing of the pharynx or indirectly as nasal diseases).
  • Sleepiness (deprivation of sleep can increase apneic activity).
  • Medications (sedative medications, some antihistamines, as well as sleep-promoting agents, can directly affect individuals. Some antihypertensive agents (blood pressure-lowering drugs) can increase or decrease the activity of apnea by as much as 20 percent).
  • Nasal obstruction.
  • Sinus problem.
  • Large tonsils.

 

Treatment of Sleep apnea at home without modalities:

Mild episodes of apnea can be treated at home without the need for patterns (continuous positive airway pressure) just by life-style modification and quitting damaging habits.

A few of life-style modifications include:

  • Maintenance of healthy weight

Increase in the bodyweight of a person, specifically, in upper regions can cause an increased risk of airways blockage and narrowing of nasal passages. This interference can result in obstruction of breathing for a significant period and may reoccur frequently.

  • Regular exercise

Regular exercise helps in boosting the level of energy, strengthening of heart muscles, and improvement in the flow of oxygen. As sleep apnea is caused by a decrease in oxygen saturation so, exercises, specifically, yoga helps in increase of oxygen flow and reduction in the frequency of sleep interruption.

  • Proper Sleeping position

Sleeping in supine (lying on back) position can significantly affect sleep, causing an increase in snoring and blockage of airways. That’s why sleeping in a side-lying position is recommended by health practitioners to avoid these disorders.

  • Cessation of smoking and tobacco use

Use of tobacco or cigarettes can result in the swelling of the upper airway tract, which in turn results in apneic activity and snoring.

  • Avoiding consumption of alcohol, and medication which may result in sleepiness or sleep-inducing pills which can result in sleep apnea.
  • Use of humidifier

A humidifier is a device used to moisturize the air. Dry air can irritate the respiratory system and body, resulting in congestion and irregular breathing. Use of humidifier can decrease the risk of developing congestion and breathing problems.

For further benefits, the addition of different essential oils as eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil is encouraged. These oils are best known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing actions.

  • Elevation of HOB

Head of the bed should be elevated at about 4 to 6 inches either by the use of wedge or cervical pillows.

  • Throat exercises:

Gargling, pursed-lip breathing (as if blowing a candle), pressing the tongue against the floor of the mouth, gently holding the tongue between teeth, and deep breathing exercise can help in relief from sleeping disorders just before sleep.

  • Singing

An exciting yet alternative way to treat sleep apnea is singing as it increases muscles control in soft palate and throat, resulting in a reduction of sleep apnea and snoring caused as a result of laxity of these muscles.

  • Avoidance of heavy meals and caffeine

Try to avoid the intake of caffeine and heavy meals for almost two hours before going to bed.

Conclusion:

Sleep apnea is a disorder related to sleep disturbances. These disorders are caused by obstruction of airways resulting in cessation of breathing for a specific time or irregularity in breathing. Dental problems can be of great concern for sleep apnea. Research has revealed that specific dental issues can also lead to sleep apnea. Therefore, it is also recommended to have regular dental check-up.

There are several treatments options available for these disorders, but a few guidelines which can be followed at home for their treatment are lifestyle modifications and adaptation of healthy life habits. These adaptations not only treat mild stages of these disorders but also decrease the risk of further complications associated with them.

 

References:

 

  1. Denolf, P. L., Vanderveken, O. M., Marklund, M. E., & Braem, M. J. (2016). The status of cephalometry in the prediction of non-CPAP treatment outcome in obstructive sleep apnea patients. Sleep medicine reviews27, 56-73.
  2. Guilleminault, C., Tilkian, A., & Dement, W. C. (1976). The sleep apnea syndromes. Annual review of medicine27(1), 465-484.
  3. Manickam, P. V., Shott, S. R., Boss, E. F., Cohen, A. P., Meinzen‐Derr, J. K., Amin, R. S., & Ishman, S. L. (2016). Systematic review of site of obstruction identification and non‐CPAP treatment options for children with persistent pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. The Laryngoscope126(2), 491-500.
  4. Nieto, F. J., Young, T. B., Lind, B. K., Shahar, E., Samet, J. M., Redline, S., ... & Pickering, T. G. (2000). Association of sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and hypertension in a large community-based study. Jama283(14), 1829-1836.
  5. Young, T., Peppard, P. E., & Gottlieb, D. J. (2002). Epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnea: a population health perspective. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine165(9), 1217-1239.

Photo by yokaew

 

Posted in: Sleep Apnea