Sunday, July 21, 2013

Heat and cpap users

If you are using a cpap mask then you probably know how hot they can get especially in the summer. Even if you have the air conditioning cranked up high wearing a cpap mask can be uncomfortable in hot weather. You add humidity to that excessive heat and you may have a dangerous problem.

With a cpap mask regardless of the weather the sleep apnea patient may feel discomfort from where the cpap mask touches the skin. If you add in the heat and humidity it will only aggravate the problem.

There are things that you can do to help alleviate this problem. The first thing is to make sure that your mask is comfortable. The cpap machine and mask have been around quite awhile now and there have been substantial improvement to not only the machine but also the mask. If you don’t feel comfortable with your present mask there are many others to choose from.

And of course there are humidifiers that are connected to the cpap machines. They keep the air that is going into your mouth moist which is very important. With out the humidifier you might wake up with a sore throat.

If the temperature outside is hot and humid make sure that your bedroom is cool not necessarily cold but cool enough to be comfortable.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nightmares and Sleep Apnea

When we go to sleep each night our bodies are supposed to go through 5 stages of sleep. The most important stage is the Rapid Eye Movement stage or REM. At this stage there are a lot of things going on that are beneficial to the body and mind. It helps learning development and it also helps with your memory. Dreaming is also done at this stage of sleeping and of course sleep apnea disrupts this stage. Nightmares also occur during this stage.

Everyone has had a nightmare at one time or the other while they were sleeping. While nightmares in general aren’t harmful they can certainly give you quite a scare. They aren’t to be confused with night terrors, where the dream that you are having is terrifying and you seem to have an inability of waking up.

According to Wikipedia, nightmares“are not common in children under 5, but they are more common in young children (25% experiencing a nightmare at least once per week), most common in adolescents, and less common in adults (dropping in frequency about one third from age 25 to 55).”

Sleep apnea along with other sleep disorders (parasomnias) can cause nightmares. However there are some studies that suggest that folks with OSA actually have fewer nightmares because of the lack of REM time. Personally I don’t agree with that because I still have nightmares and sleep apnea.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sleep apnea and adrenal fatigue

Sleep apnea has many side effects like day time drowsiness, potential risk of heart disease, diabetes among other things. The lack of sleep makes your tired and less alert; your overall mood is probably down also. Well there is also something called adrenal fatigue that causes much the same symptoms.

What is adrenal fatigue syndrome?

At the top of our kidneys sit the adrenal glands. They produce hormones and adrenal that is needed by the body for stressful time and for infection. Needless to say they are very important. The adrenal glands also produce something called cortisol which helps fight infection and stress, but too much cortisol can cause Cushing syndrome. The symptoms of this disorder are excess weight gain, high blood pressure, skin problems, feeling weak, and many other symptoms. However if you don’t get enough cortisol your problems will be even be worse, they could be fatal. So it is very important to have the right amount of cortisol produced.

Sleep apnea certainly interrupts your sleep which would have an effect on the functions of the adrenal glands. As anyone who has sleep apnea can tell you this disorder can produce stress in a big way, which in turn makes works the adrenal glands too much (fatigue) causing them to be less effective in fighting stress.

It is important to note that sleep apnea isn’t the only sleep disorder condition that causes adrenal fatigue. Other sleep disorders like insomnia can also play havoc on your adrenal glands.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know it?

While I was growing up I knew that my father had some kind of sleeping problem, besides loud snoring. He would snore alright but then he would abruptly stop with a snort then go back to snoring, this pattern would go on night after night. (I don’t know how my mother put up with it!) Of course now this is the common symptoms of sleep apnea, which I have as well.  Back then I can’t remember anyone ever using the term sleep apnea unlike now where sleep apnea as well as many other sleep disorders are being treated everywhere.  So it was a big surprise to see that in a recent study only a small number of folks knew that they had sleep apnea.

According to a study done by Phillips Electronics in the Netherlands only 22 percent of the participants who were determined to have sleep apnea actually knew already that they suffered from this sleep disorder. This is really amazing to think that close to 80 percent of the folks who have sleep apnea didn’t know it. I guess it shows that there is still is room for more public information on the matter.

Another possible reason is that some people might just think that they are light sleepers or maybe their only real problem is snoring. That is why it is so important to contact a doctor who specializes in sleep problems especially sleep apnea.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Women with sleep apnea have a greater chance of brain damage


Sleep apnea can be the cause of a great many health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and emotional problems. One other problem that may occur due to sleep apnea is brain damage. In a previous post I wrote the following about the connection.

“According to a study done by the UCLA School of medicine, sleep apnea patients have smaller Mammillary glands than people without sleep disorders. Mammillary glands are located underneath the brain and they are associated with memory. Alcohol abuse can also lead to damage of the Mammillary glands. But it also seems that being born with smaller Mammillary bodies can also lead to sleep apnea.”
Now from a new study from the UCLA School of Nursing suggests that women have a greater chance of brain damage from sleep apnea than men.
According to the UCLA Newsroomthe study found that women were impacted in the cingulum bundle and the anterior cingulate cortex, areas in the front of the brain involved in decision-making and mood regulation. The women with sleep apnea also showed higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms, the researchers said.”
Apparently the first tests that were done over 10 years ago focused mainly on men or groups of men and women.  This study certainly suggests that women should be as tested for sleep apnea just as much as for men if not more.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by having a sleep study done where the patient spends the night being monitored to see if they have any interrupted sleep or apnea. If that is the case the typical remedy is using one of the forms of the CPAP machine which blows air into the throat so your breathing wouldn’t be cut off during the night. In some cases surgery is also suggested.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A drink before bed wouldn’t help you sleep

For years I have heard folks tell me that a quick drink before bed helps you sleep, especially if it is wine.  An article in the Dailymail suggested that red wine had melatonin in it which is a natural sleep aid. A shot of whisky can also be beneficial before bed as well, in fact I had an uncle that drink a shot every night before he went to bed and he lived a long life. Supposedly the whiskey helped with his circulation. I don’t know if that is true or not.  However a new study suggests that any drinking before sleeping or nightcap doesn’t help you falls asleep in fact it probably does the opposite.

According to Webmd.comA new review of 27 studies shows that alcohol does not improve sleep quality. According to the findings, alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but it reduces (REM) sleep.”

The article goes on to say that the more you drink the worse your sleeping will be, of course that certainly makes sense to anyone that has gone overboard with their drinking and then tried to go to bed.

Some folks may dispute this and say that they do indeed fall asleep faster after having a few drinks but the real problem is that it affects the quality of sleep which in turn will make you more tired the next day. so booze is definitely not a good sleep aid.

If you have sleep apnea then you certainly know that alcohol is a terrible idea at bedtime. Your apnea will be considerably worse at night and the next day you will be walking around like a zombie. Sleeping pills are also to be avoided if you sleep apnea as well.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sleep apnea and high altitude

Although I have never experienced it myself it appears that folks with sleep apnea may have an even more difficult time sleeping at higher altitudes. There was a new study done by Swiss researchers who concluded that sleep apnea patients could find the combination of the CPAP machine and a drug called Diamox.

There were 51 patients (mostly obese men) in the study and they were tested at altitudes of 5300 and 8500 feet.  According to USNEWs.comThe combined treatment with acetazolamide and CPAP led to improved levels of oxygen in the blood when patients were awake and sleeping, and better control of sleep apnea; it also reduced the amount of time spent awake during the night, compared with CPAP alone.”

Of course you need to check with your doctor to see if this medication is something that you may be able to use. It is also important to remember that the sleep apnea patients also used the CPAP machines as well.
“The drug Diamox or Acetazolamide is used to treat glaucoma and to treat and to prevent acute mountain sickness (altitude sickness). It is also used as a part of some treatment plans for congestive heart failure and seizure disorders.”

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