Patients who are afflicted with sleep apnea often experience a variety of symptoms during sleep, including snoring, irregular breathing patterns or even stopped breathing. The condition can have long-term effects on the people who suffer from it, so it is important to know the facts to treat it effectively and improve overall health in patients.
It is commonly said that knowledge is power. Learn as much as possible about sleep apnea to separate fact from fiction.
There are three types of the disorder
Some patients are surprised to learn that there are several varieties of this condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent. It is characterized by incorrect posture in the throat muscles, which leads to snoring, low blood pressure and shortness of breath. The second most common type is central sleep apnea, which is caused by the brain communicating in the wrong way to the breathing muscles during sleep. Finally, some patients are diagnosed with complex sleep apnea syndrome. This is a combination of obstructive and central types.
Not all patients snore
A common misconception of sleep apnea is that it always causes those who suffer from it to snore loudly and frequently. While the disorder can cause many patients to snore, not all people do so. Each person’s airway is unique, so many people with the disorder may not realize they have it. Look for other symptoms such as chronic fatigue, mood swings from exhaustion and startling breathing patterns during sleep, like gasping or choking.
Overweight people are at higher risk
Medical researchers have established a strong connection between obesity and sleep apnea in patients. With weight gain comes extra deposits of fat in the chest and neck, which can impede correct breathing during sleep. Many doctors recommend that overweight or obese patients begin a weight loss regime of healthier diet options and moderate exercise to minimize the effects.
Anyone can develop sleep disorders
This sleep disorder is most often found in overweight men older than 45, but women and children of all ages and weights have developed the condition. Some studies report that men have double the chance as women to develop sleep apnea.
The disorder can lead to other health problems
Many doctors consider patients with sleep apnea to have higher chances of having strokes, blood clots, and high blood pressure. When the body does not receive appropriate amounts of oxygen, the heart can be endangered. Strengthen the pulmonary and respiratory systems with a healthy diet and exercise.
Sleep aid devices can help
Depending on the type of sleep apnea a patient suffers from, typical sleeping posture and overall health, a doctor may prescribe the use of several different devices for patients. A common treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask. Other devices include oxygen nose tubes, humidifiers and snore guards.
A diagnosis of sleep apnea can be reversed if a patient learns the facts. Commitment to lifestyle changes in diet and exercise have proven beneficial for many.