Sunday, December 25, 2011

Family support and sleep apnea

It is tough to face any problem alone, whether it is health related or one of the many situations that life puts us through. Of course it can be done alone and for a lot of folks that don’t have any support system there really isn’t any choice.  Sleep apnea is one of those health related problems that can be greatly helped by understanding and supportive friends and relatives.
Most folks don’t like to ask for help or even support from others, maybe they feel they don’t need it or maybe they think it is a sign of weakness. They are wrong on both accounts. Most folks wouldn’t hesitate to help others then they shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from others.
What kind of support is needed for sleep apnea?
Before you even know that you have sleep apnea your sleeping partner probably knows that something is wrong because of the strange and intense snoring that they hear at night. If they urge you to go to the doctor about it listen to them! A sleep study will show whether you have it or not.
If your treatment is using a CPAP machine, and that is common for most folks with sleep apnea, then you will definitely need help and encouragement to use the mask and to continue using the mask. Using  a CPAP mask can be frustrating to use at first and it is much easier when you have help putting it on and keeping it on.
Sleep apnea if left untreated can be dangerous to your health so try to get as much help and support as you need to conquer it.
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Can you have sleep apnea without snoring?

One of the biggest signs of sleep apnea is snoring, but not just any kind of snoring, the snoring that sleep apnea sufferers have is a kind of grunting and then gasping for air.  Which is exactly what happens because your air way is blocked and when you grunt you wake yourself up to breathe, If your sleep apnea is pretty bad than this happens frequently through the night. That is why a sleep study is so important because the results of the tests will tell you whether you have sleep apnea or not. Lots of folks snore but not everyone has obstructive sleep apnea. But can you have sleep apnea without snoring.
I guess that would depend on what you would consider as snoring, whether it is the regular rhythmic snoring that goes without stopping or the grunting that I had earlier described. While I have read that it is possible to have sleep apnea with snoring I would think that it would be very rare and very dangerous. The loud grunting noise of sleep apnea is a great warning to you or your partner that something is definitely wrong.
But also keep in mind that there are other symptoms of sleep apnea such as daytime drowsiness which can be very dangerous especially if you do a lot of driving. Being unable to concentrate and to keep things in your memory can point to sleep apnea as well.
So if you feel that your sleeping (with or without snoring) is a problem have it checked out by a doctor who may want you to go for a sleep study.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sleep apnea, sleep disorders and behavioral therapy

Of all the sleep disorders obstructive sleep apnea has to be one of the worst to correct. A blockage in the back of throat causes you to stop breathing many, many times each night and when you find out that you have sleep apnea you are then told by your doctors how to eliminate it. Which is usually by CPAP machine or surgery, the choices really aren’t that good.
 Of course that’s not to say that it is easy to cure insomnia, excessive snoring, restless leg syndrome and others. But with sleep apnea not “fixing it” could lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. and to make it really bad if you have sleep apnea you may also have other sleep disorders like insomnia where being able to rest is nearly impossible. Luckily there are things that you can do to alleviate the other sleeping problems, mostly through behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy in this type of situation doesn’t have much to do with a therapist mostly it is changing your bad sleeping habits. While these wouldn’t help much with your sleep apnea they will certainly have an effect on sleep issues like insomnia. Sometimes this type of advice is referred to as sleep hygiene.
For more information on how to change your sleeping habits go to this post on sleeping habits.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sleeping too long on the weekends

Most folks take the opportunity to sleep late on the weekends in an attempt to catch up on rest that they lost during the week. Taking a little nap on Saturday or Sunday also is great way to rest up for the upcoming week. Of course if you have sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder your sleeping in or napping might go a little overboard which is probably an indication that you need to receive more rest during the week.
What besides sleep apnea causes us to oversleep?
According to webmd 2 of the biggest reasons for oversleeping (hypersomnia) are socioeconomic reasons and depression as well as alcohol and certain prescription drugs. They also state that oversleeping can lead to big health problems like heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
What prevents oversleeping?
  • Going to bed at the same time each night as well as getting out of bed the same time every morning, even on the weekends.
  • Relax or meditate before going to bed.
  • Don’t eat before you go to bed.
  • Everybody knows what caffeine does to you
  • If you exercise in the evening give yourself plenty of time to relax before trying to sleep.
  • Don’t drink alcohol late at night.
It is also good to remember is that sleeping longer on the weekend doesn’t necessarily make up for your sleep deficit. After staying in bed for long stretches you probably find that it is difficult to get moving and motivated to do anything but get back in bed. The feeling that you get is usually classified as “groggy”.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marriage problems and sleep apnea

As you probably know by now sleep apnea causes more problems than just being tired. Health problems such as heart disease and diabetes are high on the list as well as relationship problems with your partner.
  • If you are a man with sleep apnea and in a relationship the thought of having erectile dysfunction also may be too much to deal with. Erectile dysfunction is an issue for a large percentage of men whether they have sleep apnea or not. But if you are suffering from this sleep disorder than you should know sleep apnea as an adverse effect on those with ER.
  • Having a healthy sex life can be difficult when you are always tired and if you have sleep apnea chances are you tired most of the time. Besides the ER issues being tired as well as being down or depressed can make it tough to have the intimate relationships that you need with your partner.
  • Depression as mentioned before can put a terrific strain on marriages as well as a strain on your self and unfortunately being tired all the time from sleep apnea makes it even worse. If the depression is severe it might be a good idea to not only go to a sleep doctor but also a counselor who can help you through this time.
  • Sleep apnea might not be the only reason that some couples would get divorced but it certainly could be a major factor.
With all the things that can go wrong while you have sleep apnea it certainly shows that you should consider all treatments that your sleep doctor recommends.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving in to sleep apnea

I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea about 12 years ago. I knew that I was a loud snorer because my wife often complained about it although I didn’t know that it was sleep apnea at the time, in fact I wasn’t sure what sleep apnea was exactly. But it wasn’t just the snoring that caused me to seek help I was also very tired during the day. I had other health issues that I thought would be more manageable if I had more rest. So I went for help.
My doctor sent me to a specialist who set up a sleep study for me.  After my first sleep study it was apparent that I did indeed have OSA. I was given a CPAP mask to use and as I have written many times before it didn’t really help much. After the first CPAP disaster I waited about a year or two before trying it again. This time it was with a different doctor who sent me to another sleep study. Once again it was shown that I had sleep apnea and another CPAP (BIPAP) was issued to me. Once again it didn’t work; frustrated I didn’t go back to the doctor for about 2 years.
I guess all in all I have been to at least 5 specialists and 6 sleep studies. After all that I still have sleep apnea but I do know a few things, one the CPAP doesn’t work for me and two I will probably require surgery at some point in the future to correct (hopefully!) my sleep apnea.
The journey with sleep apnea can be long and filled with disappointments but that doesn’t mean that you should just give in entirely. Although I haven’t found the right path to be free of sleep apnea I will continue to look and hopefully you will too.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mediterranean diet and sleep apnea

Everyone knows that there is a connection between sleep apnea and what you eat, or rather how much you have been eating. A good percentage of sleep apnea sufferers are overweight which makes the problem of sleep apnea that much worse. All of the weight that you gain from over-eating doesn’t end up around your waistline; weight gain is all over your body. Not only will your face look bigger which is bad for sleep apnea you will also increase the size of the tissue in the back of your throat which causes the blockage of air which in turn causes sleep apnea. However not all sleep apnea is connected to weight gain, the shape of your face and the size of your tongue also plays a part. While a proper diet may be completely cure you of obstructive sleep apnea you should definitely consider it. One diet that has been in the news is called the Mediterranean diet which is supposed to help with sleep apnea.
In the past this type of diet has been known to help with other ailments such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The diet consists of fruit, vegetables, fish and low fat proteins. A study from the University of Crete in Greece found that those on this diet, combined with exercise and using a CPAP lowered the number of apneas that they had at night.
While this sounds pretty good I would imagine that any sensible diet along with exercise and the use of the CPAP would also lessen the number of apneas.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

How many apneic episodes equal sleep apnea?

Before I went to my first sleep study I had no idea if I had sleep apnea or not. My wife thought that something was wrong because my snoring was very loud and strange sounding, more like a grunt than the typical sound of someone snoring. At the time I knew little about sleep apnea other than the fact that it keep you up most of night, and making you feel exhausted during the day. One of the first things that I found out about this sleeping disorder was that the number of times that you wake up from it is a good indicator of how bad your sleep apnea is.
At the sleep study you are attached to many wires that record many things regarding your sleep. One of the main issues is how many times that you will awake in a given hour. This is referred to as apneic episodes, which happen after your breathing stops and you gasp for air which triggers you awake.
If you have had 5 to 15 apneic episodes than your sleep apnea is considered in the mild range, if the number of episodes 15 to 30 then it is considered moderate whereas 30 episodes is severe. I can’t remember what my number was but I believe that it was in the high range.
Of course at a sleep study they check quite a few things out but the number of apneic episodes is one of the most telling findings.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sleep apnea and gas

One of the most irritating and embarrassing things that can happen at night while you are trying to sleep is having excessive gas. Not only will it keep your sleeping partner up (and probably moving into another room) it will also keep you from sleeping as well. If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine it might be even more of a problem.
Most of know that one of the main causes of gas is what we eat. Vegetable, beans and milk products are the usual suspects when it comes to having gas. Poor indigestion and the ability of the smaller intestine to handle the food that you consumed will contribute to having gas. So cutting back or laying off late night eating will certainly help but it doesn’t cure every case of flatulence. There are familiar over the counter medications that you can certainly try and if that doesn’t do it then your doctor might have something for you.
Another reason for gas is swallowing air and this can be a problem if you are using a CPAP machine. I know when I used a full face mask on my CPAP I would swallow a good deal of air causing quite a bit of flatulence.  Belching is another problem that can occur when you are using a full face mask but fortunately I didn’t have that problem.
If excessive gas, caused by using a CPAP mask, is preventing you from getting any sleep, then check with your sleep doctor.  Maybe the air pressure is too high on the machine or maybe he can adjust the ramp feature (how fast the air pressure increases to its highest level). Or a prescription med might do the trick.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sleep-related eating disorder

Do you eat while you are asleep? I don’t but it appears that some folks do. Sleep eating is apparently just another sleep disorder that affects people.
According to, “Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is characterized by repeated involuntary episodic eating that occurs during nighttime sleep. It is more than a midnight snack, and individuals with this disorder remain largely asleep while they are eating.”
And if eating while you are asleep is strange it seems than what some folks are eating at night is even weirder, odd combinations of foods such as salt, sugar, flour and even, this is disgusting, cat litter. Foods that are high in calories (I don’t know what the calorie content is for cat litter) are also prevalent.
What makes this happen?
This usually occurs in people that have other sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and periodic limb movements. There also seems to be a link between Confusional arousals and SRED. The demographic for this is women in their 20’s.
I have also read that there can be a link between sleep medication, like Ambien and Trizolam, and this sleep disorder
The first step of course is going to your doctor and scheduling a sleep study which will determine which sleep disorders you have or don’t have. Treatment can include sleep hygiene and possibly medication.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sleep apnea can cause headaches in the morning

Headaches are bad at any time of the day, but when you wake up with one that can be particularly irritating. What causes the headaches?  Drinking way too much the night before is definitely one way to have your head splitting open in the morning. The need for caffeine when you wake up will also give you a pretty good headache, especially if you are a big coffee drinker. Sleep apnea can also cause headaches in the morning.
According to, “Because breathing stops so often, the person does not receive sufficient oxygen, causing carbon dioxide to build in the blood. This affects the nervous system as well as blood flow to the brain, causing headache as well as memory and mood changes”
In a study cited by Webmd 35 percent of complained of morning headaches. In many cases the headaches go away when the sleep apnea is treated.
 Of course the thing to remember is that just because you have headaches in the morning doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. If you have other symptoms of sleep apnea, like feeling tired during the day, or maybe your partner has told you about how loud your snoring is then you might just have it. Check with your doctor to see about getting a sleep study scheduled. You will know for certain when the results get back if you have sleep apnea or not.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Testosterone and sleep apnea

It is interesting to see how some things that don’t seem at all connected with sleep apnea have an effect on it.  One such problem for men is erectile dysfunction where sleep apnea can be a deterrent on men achieving an erection. Another problem that also is intertwined with sleep apnea as well as other sleep disorders is low testosterone.
The hormone testosterone, which is created in the testes, does many things for the body.
  • Builds muscle and mass
  • Spurs the growth of facial and body hair, lowers the voice
  • Increase sperm production
  • Increase sexual stamina 
Women also have testosterone much not at the same level as men.
As we age our levels of testosterone goes down creating such problems as ER, hair loss and even depression. Testosterone therapy which increases the level of testosterone in men can be used but it also has side effects, such as aggressive behavior, acne, liver damage and impotence. A lot of this is well known because of professional sports athletes taking steroids to increase their strength and muscle size.
According to the National Institute of Health the problem of low testosterone is considerably worse in those with sleep apnea. During the REM stage of sleep our levels of testosterone is at its highest, of course those of us with sleep apnea don’t experience the benefits of REM sleep.
If you have sleep apnea and you feel that you might be suffering from low testosterone then contact your doctor to see what can be done.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sleep latency and sleep apnea

One of the signs of sleep disorders especially sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. As the day drags on you find it harder and harder to stay awake. Caffeine is a little help but really not that much. By the time you get home you find that all you want to do is fall asleep, take a little nap before you do anything else. Of course that little nap gives you enough energy to stay up for a while before going to bed. But when you try to go to sleep you find that you just lay there staring at ceiling and walls hoping that you will fall asleep soon.  Anxiety starts to build as you look over at the clock and it is getting later and later.  If this is you then your problem has to do with sleep latency.
Being able to fall asleep quickly and having interrupted sleep can be a problem with sleep apnea. You wouldn’t think falling asleep would be a challenge considering how tired you are but it is. The problem of sleep apnea is bad enough with the way to wakes you several times an hour but there are other things that contribute to you have difficulty falling asleep, namely taking naps and drinking anything with caffeine in it.
Cutting back or eliminating caffeine from your diet will not only help your sleeping it may also help with lowering your stress and anxiety. Cut back slowly and within time you will find that you will rest better and have more energy.
As for eliminating the afternoon nap not everyone is in favor of that. Some think that it can be beneficial and refreshing while others aren’t so sure. But if you have a sleep disorder then it might not be such a great idea. For more information on napping go to MSN Health.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Are you worried about dying from sleep apnea?

It seems like there are a million things to worry about in life from health to family to making a living all this stuff constantly gives you reasons for concern (and headaches!). Health matters whether they involve your family or you are right up there at the top of the list. One of my concerns is the amount of rest that I get or don’t get each night. As you probably already know sleep apnea has been a thorn in my side for many years. In fact I can’t remember when I wasn’t affected by it, maybe it wasn’t a problem when I was a kid or a teenager but I can’t say for sure. Sleep apnea can be a precursor of many ailments like diabetes, depression, gout and the biggest concern is what it does to your heart. As we all know heart problems can lead to the most unfortunate conclusion, which is unexpected death. Are you worried about dying from sleep apnea?
This question is relevant to me because my father who suffered from sleep apnea died of heart troubles at the age of 61 in 1977. Of course at that time little was said about sleep apnea and he certainly hadn’t heard about it. But I remember hearing his grunting snoring like he was gasping for air (it was very loud) and add the fact that he didn’t seem to have much energy during the day, I can only imagine that it was sleep apnea. He had at least 5 heart attacks with the last one being fatal. Whether it was all due to his sleep apnea I can’t say for sure. He was on a strict diet after the first heart attack and he didn’t drink or smoke so I think that the sleep apnea had something to do with it.
If you do a search on the web about sleep apnea and heart disease you will see that a lot of doctors believe that sleep apnea can definitely be a contributing factor in getting a heart attack. So you should be concerned about dying from heart disease especially if you have sleep apnea. But worrying really won’t help your condition, the best thing that you can do is see your doctor about what your options are for eliminating your sleep apnea or at least curtailing it. Heart disease is also caused by many other factors such as lack of exercise and eating the wrong foods. A healthy life style will help combat heart disease as well as sleep apnea.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The importance of controlling sleep apnea

Everyone knows how important sleep is to our daily lives, without the rest and rejuvenation that you receive from it our productivity lessens, and we open the door to various ailments that are connected with sleep disorders. Even with that said a lot of folks ignore sleeping problems and continue to exist without the proper rest. You can survive on less sleep and maybe even get used to it, but you are doing our mind and body a great disorder. One of the biggest and well known sleep disorder is sleep apnea, where the back of the throat is blocked which in turn stops your breathing and forces you to wake up several times each hour that you attempt to sleep.  The result of sleep apnea is more than just feeling tired in the morning.
  1. Sleep apnea leads to many health problems probably none greater than what it does to the heart.
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea also limits the amount of oxygen that flows through the body potentially causes such disorders as dementia.
  3. You wouldn’t think that sleep apnea would have any connection between low blood sugar and diabetes, but it does.
  4. Most folks feel grumpy when they don’t get enough sleep, imagine how you would feel if you didn’t ever get enough sleep, you would probably be depressed.
This is just a short list of the things that can happen when you let sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea, go unchecked. There are things that you can do to control sleep apnea such as using a CPAP machine, or a dental device and as a last resort possibly surgery.
If you feel that you may have sleep apnea talk to your doctor about setting up a sleep study.  The test will show whether you have sleep apnea or not.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Are pediatricians being trained to handle sleep apnea?

As many of you already know sleep apnea isn’t just for middle-aged people who are overweight.  Potential victims of sleep apnea cover a much wider range than that, young adults and children may also experience the dangerous effects of sleep apnea. We don’t hear much about children having sleep apnea; usually you read about how older folks try to cope with it by using the CPAP machine or a dental device or maybe even surgery.  But some children do suffer from it. What is really surprising is something that I read the other day that a lot of pediatricians aren’t being trained to handle sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea isn’t the only sleep disorder that children, including infants, can have. Bedwetting is something that a lot of parents have to deal with as well as night terrors where the child will wake up terrified.  Snoring can also be a problem.
According to an article in MedscapeThe vast majority of pediatricians believe it is their role to advise parents or guardians on sleep hygiene for their children, yet very few have ever received training do to so, according to new research published online August 28 and in the September print issue of Pediatrics.”  this seems rather troubling news considering how dangerous sleep apnea can be in children as well as adults. Hopefully this research will rectify this training issue.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnea

It is well known that sleep apnea isn’t good for your health. High blood pressure, heart problems, circulation problems, diabetes and the list goes on and on. If you have sleep apnea then you also know how it can affect you emotionally. Lack of sleep from any sleeping disorder brings on anxiety, stress and even depression. It also can bring on OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) as well as Post traumatic stress disorder.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
According to the National Institute of Health post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is” a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.” This can be caused by being in a terribly stressful situation such as an accident, assault, rape and any other event that caused you great anguish. The main symptom of PTSD is the reliving of that particular event over and over again. Support groups have been found to be the best cure for PTSD along with certain medications.

Strangely enough one preexisting condition that might make you a candidate for PTSD is sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is also connected to panic attacks and the before mentioned OCD.
If the obstructive sleep apnea is controlled this will also help with controlling the post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ten things I know about the CPAP mask

After years of having sleep apnea and writing a blog on sleep apnea I have learned quite a bit about the subject. One area of sleep apnea is particularly interesting and that is about how the CPAP works for some folks and not for others. In addition there are many aspects of the CPAP machine such as why it doesn’t work for everybody, side effects caused by using the CPAP machine and what is gained and lost from sleeping with it on your face all night.
Ten  things I know about the CPAP mask...
  1. My first post about my initial encounter with the CPAP machine at a sleep study. It wasn’t a good experience.
  2. One of the best devices that now come along with the CPAP machine is a humidifier. The air that blows through the hose tends to become dry which in turn dries out your mouth. The humidifier helps with that.
  3. Having a beard and trying to use the CPAP machine isn’t a good idea. The beard can cause leakage which is definitely something you don’t want.
  4. Make sure to clean your CPAP machine if you are able to use it. Germs can build up without proper cleaning.
  5. You lose a lot by not being able to sleep. Can you regain any of it by using a CPAP.
  6. Wearing a mask at night can be uncomfortable especially if it is during the summer when it is hot.
  7. It is wise to learn as much as possible about the CPAP machine before buying it.
  8. There are other things that can help with your sleep apnea besides using a CPAP.
  9. What is a hybrid CPAP mask? A combination of the best features of all makes of the mask.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ambien and sleep apnea

Sleeping pills and sleep apnea, is this a good idea? I know that in the past I have written on more than one occasion that it isn’t something that is recommended. The research on this subject is that sleeping pills don’t help those who have sleep apnea and those that aren’t being treated for it. In other words no CPAP machine, oral devices or anything else that cuts back on your apnea. (Of course if you have found that the CPAP works for you than that is probable a different story) I have sleep apnea and I don’t have use a CPAP however I had a doctor prescribe Ambien for me.
You are probably thinking that I didn’t tell the doctor that I had sleep apnea, but I made it clear that not only did I have sleep apnea but I also told her that I didn’t use the CPAP either. That didn’t seem to deter her from writing a prescription for it. Although she did give me a word of caution about possible side effects of this medication and she also encouraged me to start off with a half of pill right before I went to bed.
When I told my wife about getting a prescription of Ambien she had a story to tell me of her own experience on the medication. It wasn’t good. The first time that she took the Ambien put her in such a daze that she didn’t even remember driving to work that day!
Luckily I didn’t have that type of experience but the medication really wasn’t  very helpful for me. Sure I feel asleep fast but the next morning I felt even more tired than usual. I suspect that the pill made my sleep apnea to increase in intensity. Needless to say I haven’t been taking the medication anymore.
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Compression socks and sleep apnea

It always amazes me the different things that help with sleep apnea. Whether it is throat exercises or playing the instrument didgeridoo there are many ways that some folks claim helps sleep apnea. I am not saying they don’t help but you heard a lot about cures and whether they work. I read a recent article about another way to reduce sleep apnea and that is with compression socks.
Before I even read the article from medpagetoday I sort of saw where they were going with this. I had written other posts about fluid in the legs and its connection to sleep apnea. Well the article states that compression socks help prevent the accumulation of fluids in the legs during the day. The problem with this is at night the fluid shifts upward into the neck area which in turn causes sleep apnea. So the scientists doing this test imagined that there should be some secondary effect on people with sleep apnea. And they were right.
According to the article 36% of those tested had an improvement on the number of apnea occurrences of course that may not seem like a lot but every small gain should be an encouragement. Another point that they made was that there hasn’t been any long term study of sleep apnea patients wearing compression socks. That would certainly shed a little more light on whether this is effective.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Living with Sleep Apnea

If you do have sleep apnea do you remember what it was like not to have sleep apnea? The ability of waking up feeling like you had a great night’s sleep and feeling refreshed with a lot of energy to spare. It is hard for me to remember that since sleep apnea has haunted me for so many years that I can’t remember what a good night’s sleep is or was. It’s strange but you get used to waking up so many times to start breathing again because that is what obstructive sleep apnea does to you. Living with sleep apnea unfortunately does more than deprive you of rest; it also leads to serious health issues.
Not breathing continuously interrupts the flow of oxygen into the lungs, which is what sleep apnea does. This can also lead to other problems like high blood pressure and possible heart failure. Usually but not in every case those who have sleep apnea also have a problem with their weight, which further exacerbates the problems with your heart. While losing weight is suggested it isn’t always easy especially if you don’t have energy due to your lack of sleep. And that can be a real problem not just an excuse.
After years of losing sleep your body builds up quite a sleep debt. Does your body ever make up for that debt? Some folks say that you can but others aren’t so sure. Either way it is always a good idea to find some way of combating this sleep problem.
If you do think that you have sleep apnea make sure to go to your doctor or an ENT to set up a sleep study which will prove one way or the other if you sleep apnea. If you do find that you have it talk to your doctor about your options for correcting this problem, the last decade or so there have been a lot of research done on sleep apnea so the chance of finding a cure is a lot better now than ever before.
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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sleep apnea and learning

The way things change all the time requires that everyone needs to become an active learner, especially when it comes to all the technology devices and gadgets that appear on the market. In order to keep up you have to continually learn new ways of doing things quickly. Education and learning should be a constant for you but unfortunately there is one thing that is standing in your way, and that is from a lack of sleep due to sleep disorders. Without rest learning anything is an ordeal and memorization is also a tough task. One of the worst sleep disorders and one of the most difficult to cure is sleep apnea.
What makes sleep apnea an enemy of learning?
We now know that the brain is very active in certain stages of sleep especially REM.  According to healthysleep dot medResearch suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.”
 This can be particularly difficult for children in school but it can also have ramifications for older folks also. Being more productive at work often means learning new skills that makes you a more valuable employee. If you are having issues with sleep disorders like sleep apnea then your ability to learn new things will be greatly hampered. if you sleep apnea or sleep disorder is so bad it may also cost you your job.
Checking in with your doctor is always a good place to start when looking for answers to sleep problems.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sleep Apnea and the Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation System

It seems like there is always some sort of new innovation regarding the cure of sleep apnea. Whether it is an improvement in the CPAP machines or dental devices or even surgery something is always be invented to try to cure this tiring disorder. The other day I saw an article from the about a device that was implanted in a truck driver who had just discover that she had sleep apnea. Earlier in the year I had wrote about this procedure but they hadn’t done any testing at the time.
The truck driver initially went to her doctor with the familiar complaints that suggest sleep apnea, waking up many times during the night and being very tired during the day. As you can probably guess her doctor sent her on a sleep study where it was confirmed that she suffered from sleep apnea. Like most new sleep apnea patients she tried the CPAP and like a lot of us she didn’t find any relief from it. She was then introduced to a new technology called Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation System (they will probably come up with a shorter name for!) The device is planted in the chest and shocks the tongue (somehow) to eliminate the blockage in the back of the throat. For this lady it has seemed to do the trick. She did say that the battery has life span of 3 to 5 years. That a small tradeoff if you can get your sleeping back.
Of course like all new devices it will probably be a while before this system is considered a sparkling success. But it certainly sounds promising.
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Daytime drowsiness and sleep apnea

If you had a bad night where you couldn’t sleep at all, then a bad day where you will be drowsy will follow.  It is a miserable feeling when you don’t get enough sleep, every little thing that you do during the day seems to take all of your energy (what little you have left!) This happens to most folks at one time or the other but if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea that it probably occurs every day.
It is difficult to be productive if your energy is sapped and that is exactly what happens after a night of waking every few minutes because the apnea is choking you. It can also cause emotional problems such as depression and physical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.
 Sleep apnea is caused by blockage in the back of the throat due to loose tissue or an enlarged tongue. There is another type of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea that causes you to awake every few minutes but it isn’t due to blockage in the throat. This type of apnea doesn’t occur as much as obstructive sleep apnea.
Strangely enough a lot of folks with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it so they just do the best they can with the small amount of rest that they get. That’s way it is important to get a sleep study done and see if you have OSA. The most common type of cure for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine which keeps your airway open by blowing air down your throat.  Surgery is also an option but usually saved until everything else has been tried and failed.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sleep apnea and divorce

I just read a headline about the 3 things that lead to divorce: Money, infidelity and snoring.  The first two are common knowledge whether is just about money or infidelity or maybe even a combination of the two. But snoring as a common reason for divorce I’m not sure if that is just an exaggeration or what it does have some truth to it especially if you or your partner has sleep apnea. That constant roaring and grunting is enough to drive anyone out of the bedroom (at least that is what my wife says)
Of course it isn’t just the annoying sound of snoring that can cause breakups, there is much more to it than that. The partner with the sleep apnea has to deal with a great many more problems, such as sexual problems, irritability, memory problems and a slew of possible health issues like heart disease and diabetes.  There is some evidence that erectile dysfunction can be brought on by sleep apnea, which would contribute to the demise of any relationship.  Mood fluctuations can happen to anybody who doesn’t get their sleep,  and in turn this would lead irritability and probably arguments another bad sign in relationships.
So what do you do?
The easy answer is to eliminate your sleep apnea with the use of CPAPs, oral devices and (the last resort) surgery.  If you have sleep apnea then you know that finding a way to cure your snoring and apnea can be difficult and nerve-racking.  But it would be than dealing with the damage to your health and personal life that is caused by sleep apnea
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

CPAP may not help recover what is lost from sleep apnea

About a year ago I wrote a post about how the CPAP mask after continued use would help to restore brain tissue. Although I have never been able to use the mask it was still good news for those folks who can tolerate a mask on their face all night.  Unfortunately I read an article the other day that disputes that finding.
The latest study was different in a few crucial ways from the first. The folks in the study were older and the study was held over a long period of time. The article suggested that may have played a part in there being different results.
According to Dr. Tracy Kuo “This was an older group of patients, and perhaps this repetitive, chronic hypoxemia they have lived with for many years prior to receiving treatment may have resulted in some changes at the brain level that are irreversible”
Another thing that was different was the length of the study 6 months to a year for the previous study to 18 months for the latest study.
This shouldn’t be considered a deterrent to anyone who is going to try the CPAP mask because it has helped many folks with sleep apnea.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nasal spray and sleep apnea

Whether it is nasal allergies or a deviated septum your sinuses seem to play a big part in your sleep apnea.  In the past I have written about how one doctor told me that I had a deviated septum while two other doctors told me I didn't.  Frankly even if I had the deviated septum surgery I don’t think it would have helped my sleep apnea much.  Although I wonder if my nose didn’t seem stopped up all the time, if I would start breathing through my nose at night instead of my mouth, it’s hard to say.  But it seems to be a big deal to a lot of folks with OSA, including children.
Recently I read an article in that said that nasal sprays would actually help children with mild sleep apnea. According to the article “Some studies have shown that intranasal corticosteroid therapy -- used predominantly in allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis -- has been shown to improve mild obstructive sleep apnea in children.”  That sounds pretty good even if it is only in mild sleep apnea.
I have been prescribed nasal sprays in the past (not for sleep apnea though) for a stuffed up a nose and congestion. In my own case I don’t think that it helped that much.  But I would certainly check with a doctor to see if a nasal spray would be helpful in your own case.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sleep disorders and pregnancy

As you probably know men have a better chance at having sleep apnea than women. The number one reason for that is more men go to the doctor for this ailment than women. But the things that lead to sleep apnea such as being overweight, an enlarged tongue and a narrow airway in the mouth are common in both men and women.  Although with women there is one factor that exclusively causes sleep disorders and sleep apnea, and that is pregnancy.
Why are there issues with sleep disorders and pregnancy?
One of the biggest reasons is hormonal changes which can bring about sleepiness during the day.  Plus the emotional aspects of pregnancy can also cause insomnia and that is certainly understandable. Frequent urination which causes you to get and down during the night interrupts your sleeping as well. And if you are already overweight you’re the likelihood of having sleep disorders is also greatly increased.
What is there to do about it?
That is the tricky part because you don’t want to hurt the fetus by taking medications while you are pregnant.  Practicing good sleep hygiene is one way to at least curtail the problems associated with being pregnant and having sleep disorders. Make sure you talk to your doctor first if you are having sleep issues.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hybrid CPAP mask

From my experience with the CPAP mask it seems that the fit and the comfortability is very important if not the most important thing (although getting used to the air blowing into your face also takes time to get used to).  In my situation I had to have a full face mask because I couldn’t sleep with my mouth closed. I tried just covering my nose but it wasn't long before the air was rushing out my mouth which was a strange sensation.  Of course with the full face mask I had problems also such as the air escaping from the side of the mask, or the mask was so tight that it gave me headaches.  You might want to consider a hybrid CPAP mask.
The hybrid mask has a combination of the best features in all the other types of mask.  One of best things about this mask is the adjustability of it which helps stop the air leakage and also makes it more comfortable to wear. Another feature is the addition of nasal air pillows which go into your nostrils. It also has something called a chin flap which is good if you breathe through your mouth like me.
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