Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sleep Apnea and Relationship strains

Being tired all the time is no fun. Lack of rest can increase your chance of heart disease and diabetes and that can weigh heavily upon you. Then depression and despair follows, sleep apnea is a real pain. But it isn’t just a pain for you, it is also one for your partner, who has to put up with the snoring and the strain that sleep apnea puts on a relationship.

Unfortunately damaged relationships are just another harmful side effect of sleep apnea. Even if your partner is a saint that unique grunting sound that accompanies sleep apnea will eventually be too much for them. They may stick cotton in their ears or turn up a sound machine to try to muffle the sound of your snoring but it usually doesn’t work. And when they have had enough of the maddening sound they will head for another room, preferably one that is far enough away so they don’t hear you gasping for air every couple of minutes.

This isn’t good for a relationship. (Believe me)

Let say that you have a cpap machine and you are one of the fortunate ones that it benefits, is your problem solved? Maybe, maybe not. The cpap also makes a sound, although they are making them less noisy. If your partner is okay with that then good, that problem is solved.

Of course there is also the subject of intimacy in bed. There certainly isn’t any question that the mask can’t remain on while being intimate, it would kill the mood a little don’t you think. It might look like your partner is having sex with someone on life support. That can’t be a turn on.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a subject that most men don’t want to talk about (or write about). But it seems that you can’t turn on the TV without seeing an ad for ER medications. One possible reason for the attention to ER is that the male population is becoming older and that definitely is a factor for this disorder. There are many other reasons why this condition can occur. Is sleep apnea one of them?

Common causes of erectile dysfunction (from the

  • Heart disease  
  • clogged blood vessels 
  • high blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • obesity
And psychological causes…

  • depression 
  • anxiety 
  • fatigue 
  • relationship problems
What about sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction?

Sleep apnea patients have their REM sleep stage disrupted. During REM the brain is very active and the body is very immobile. The development of learning occurs during REM especially with infants.

REM is also a time when men have erections. Some suggest that sleep apnea’s disruptions have an adverse effect on men achieving erections when you are awake. Also if you look at the common causes of ER you will see some of the illnesses that can be caused by sleep apnea.

Medications can help with the erectile dysfunction as well as losing weight and exercising. Of course sleep apnea can be helped with the use of the cpap machine and surgeries, which in turn will probably help with the erectile dysfunction.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sleep apnea and sleeping on your side

Do you sleep on your back or stomach or on your side? If you have sleep apnea and you use a cpap I know you don’t sleep on your stomach. Does it matter in what position you sleep? Actually it does, especially if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Growing up I always slept on my stomach, I don’t know why but that was the most comfortable way for me to get to sleep. Then in my late twenties I suffered a back injury where one of my discs was flattened out. Luckily I was given a shot that blocked the nerve in my back that was causing me such grief. That was also the end of my sleeping on my stomach because that sleeping position isn’t the best for back problems. From that point onward I sleep flat on my back.

Not long after that my wife noticed that my snoring got a lot worse. I also noticed that I wasn’t getting very much rest due to sleep apnea. As I have written in past posts I went through the cpap and bipap with no luck. But I have found a little relief lately by sleeping on my side with my head elevated with a wedge pillow. It hasn’t cured my sleep apnea but I definitely see a different.

Of course I probably will someday give the cpap machine another try. Right now isn’t good for me because of some other medical problems.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sleep apnea and neck size

There are many contributing factors to sleep apnea and they all seem to lead to the blockage of your airway. Enlarged tongues are a perfect example of something that can contribute to sleep apnea as well as excess skin tissue inside the throat. Something else to consider is the size of your neck.

You may think that having a large neck is exclusively due to being overweight. Studies have shown that non obese people with large necks have a higher rate of sleep apnea then expected. Usually a size of 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women are common signs of sleep apnea. And that seems to be prevalent in middle-aged men with large necks.

Having a receding chin and a short but thick neck has also been found with sleep apnea patients. Especially with a receding chin this seems to limit the space for the tongue. A narrow throat can also be a cause of sleep apnea.

Overall weight loss can help lessen the severity of sleep apnea but might not be enough to eliminate it. The use of a cpap machine or surgery may be needed.

If you feel that you have sleep apnea or disrupted sleep contact your doctor who may want to send you on to a sleep study.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleep Apnea and infertility

I wouldn’t think that Sleep Apnea would have any effect on fertility, but then again before I started to research sleep apnea I though that the only consequence of it was being tired. As I have written over the past year there are many consequences of having sleep apnea besides being tired, some of them are even fatal. So the question today is does sleep apnea cause infertility.

The reason that I am interested in whether there is connection between sleep apnea and infertility is that my wife and I tried to have children for years and we couldn’t. I can’t say that it was the sleep apnea because there were other factors involved that are common among other couples trying to conceive. But it is strange that sleep apnea could be a factor.

It seems that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common health disorder with 5 -10% of women. This disorder has side effects like infertility, irregular periods and unfortunately sleep apnea. For more information, go to the following site.

Something else that I found out was that there is a problem with pregnant women developing or exacerbating their current sleep apnea. This puts them at an unhealthy risk of high blood pressure. Like anyone else with this disorder the most common treatment is the cpap.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sleep apnea and sleep deprivation

While there are many harmful side effects to sleep apnea such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, depression and many more, the most immediate problem is being tired or being sleep deprived. This is one side effect that you see constantly from early in the morning to late at night.

What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is simply receiving a lack of sleep regularly or even occasionally. The causes of sleep deprivation are many besides sleep apnea. It could be emotional issues that aren’t dealt with or medications or something simple like eating too late at night. But the consequence of lack of sleep can be very dangerous or even fatal in the case of sleep apnea.

One of the things that I have written about is adrenal fatigue which can also be caused by other sleep disorders such insomnia. Brain damage is also a concern if you don’t have the right amount of rest. But the most damaging and serious side effect of lack of sleep is heart disease. Sleep apnea with its cessation of breathing and limiting of oxygen is a big factor in heart troubles.

Sleep is a vital time that the body uses to rest and restore functions like memory and blood sugars. Try to make sure that you get your proper amount.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sleep Apnea and exercise

Exercise, no matter what kind of exercise, is always good for your general and mental health. Just getting out and doing a little walking can lift up mood and make for a better day. Unfortunately the problem with sleep apnea is that you probably don’t have any energy to exercise, thus depriving your self of the natural high that you receive during exercise and giving your heart a workout.

Why is exercise so important to sleep apnea sufferers?

The most obvious reason is staying in shape. Being overweight is common among sleep apnea patients. Even the slightest bit of exercise, combined with a proper diet can produce some weight loss. The thing to remember is to start out slow, walk for 15 or 20 minutes, at a comfortable rate every day. When you feel that you walk longer than do it. As far as the diet is concerned start slow on that too. Cut back on some foods at first, the key is to let your body get used to less food. If you combine the diet with walking you’ll find that after a short period of time the weight will come off. And remember that less weight means that your apnea wouldn’t be as bad. It wouldn’t be cured but it wouldn’t be as bad.

Why would exercise give me a better mental outlook?

It is difficult to say why exercise makes us feel better. One theory is that exercise helps to release endorphins which lift our spirits up, but there are others that disagree with that theory. The one thing that I know is that I feel much better after walking or doing any kind of exercise.

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