Sunday, February 27, 2011

New device for sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can be devastating to those who have it. Not only are you dragging your feet from lack of sleep you are also putting yourself at risk for some serious health problems. The main cure for sleep apnea is using a CPAP machine or as a last resort surgery. If you have sleep apnea and you aren’t able or willing to use the CPAP mask then you might be interested in something called Provent Therapy.

I hadn’t heard about this so I am assuming that it relatively new. According to the Provent Therapy website their product is “The PROVENT Nasal Device is small, hassle-free, and powered by your own breathing, so it requires no mask or machine. The device is available by prescription only and is FDA-cleared for the treatment of OSA.PROVENT Therapy is a clinically proven obstructive sleep apnea treatment and is effective for mild, moderate, and severe OSA.”

The website goes on to say that “The PROVENT Nasal Device fits over both nostrils and uses a proprietary MicroValve design that creates pressure which keeps the airway open. As you inhale, airflow is nearly unobstructed, allowing for normal breathing. As you exhale, the MicroValve closes, directing air through small air channels, increasing resistance. This resistance creates EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure), which props open the airway until you inhale again.”

This looks promising although it does say that it takes time to get used to.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Common health risks of sleep apnea

It seems that the amount of sleep and the quality of it has gotten a lot of notice recently. In a fast paced world  there is so much stress and so little time to get everything accomplished sleep and rest are sometimes neglected. But now folks are realizing that sleep is very important not only for building energy it also protects you from illnesses and disorders that can be detrimental to your health. Sleep apnea, becoming one of the most well-known sleep disorders besides insomnia, limits the amount of refreshing rest but it also may lead to many serious illnesses.

  • You know how you feel after a night of little rest or sleep. Your mood is probably bad and you aren’t very productive. Sleep apnea can lead to emotional problems and even depression. 
  • The amount of oxygen that the heart receives is vital to maintaining life. If there is an interruption like the kind that occurs with sleep apnea then the heart must work harder which could lead to heart damage and high blood pressure. 
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome is when a person continually suffers from being exhausted. No amount of bed rest will help. Having sleep apnea is similar and sometimes connected with this disorder.  
  • A large percentage of folks with sleep apnea are also obese. This situation will not improve with sleep apnea due to the lack of energy from getting little sleep. It is a bit of a vicious circle.
There are many others conditions that can occur due to sleep apnea that is why it is important to check with your doctor about your options on how to resolve this problem.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sleep apnea and hypothyroidism

It is no surprise that folks with sleep apnea have less energy due to the lack of quality sleep time. If you wake up hundreds of times each night it is impossible to feel refreshed and ready to go in the morning. Lack of energy can have a profound negative effect on your life. But sleep apnea isn’t the only thing that causes this lack of energy. There are other illnesses that zap your energy and there is one that has a connection with obstructive sleep apnea and that is hypothyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism?

According to hypothyroidism “means your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that control the way your body uses energy.” Another consequence of hypothyroidism is high cholesterol which is bad for your heart. Common symptoms of this disease are lack of energy, skin irritation, memory problems and not being able to be in the cold.

Thankfully, hypothyroidism is treatable with medications.

One of the side effects of hypothyroidism is obesity. As you know obesity is also common in sleep apnea sufferers. Another connection is that folks with this disorder also have a problem with an enlarged tongue, which is cause of sleep apnea because it blocks the airway in the back of the throat. Weakened throat muscles can contribute to sleep apnea and those with hypothyroidism lack energy and lose muscle strength. so there does seem to be some connections between hypothyroidism and sleep apnea.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remedies other than the CPAP to help with Sleep Apnea

If you have sleep apnea then you know that the number one way to eliminate it is by using a CPAP mask. Surgery can also be used but it doesn’t always work and the recovery period can be very long. Of course with the CPAP mask you will definitely have to take time to get used to the air being pushed into your mouth by the CPAP machine. Some at first struggle with it and then get used to it while others find it impossible to use. So what if you can’t use a CPAP and you are very leery of surgery, then what do you do? While it might not completely cure your sleep apnea there are things that you can do to lessen the extent of it.

  •  Although not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight but the vast majority are. While it is easier said than done, losing weight would be a big help. The tissue in your throat wouldn’t be as bad as it was when you were heavier. Not a cure but it will help.  
  • Throat exercises can also be helpful because it tightens the muscles in your mouth. Not everyone agrees that it will help but you might want to give it a try. 
  • Changing the way you sleep at night by using a wedge pillow. I have used one for the past couple years and I definitely think that it has helped. 
  • Dental devices can be helpful for sleep apnea especially if your condition isn’t severe. 
  • Sleeping on your side or you stomach is something you also should try.

 Research all that you can on alternative cures for sleep apnea there a good chance something might help.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed



Sunday, February 13, 2011

What sleep apnea does to the heart?

Sleep apnea is becoming a growing problem in this country and it is probably due to obesity. It seems strange because at the same time the idea of living a healthy lifestyle and eating well-balanced meals are also getting a lot of press. One of the reasons is that as a population we are growing older and unfortunately fatter. Of course gaining weigh will bring on more sickness and more visits to the doctor’s office. And we all know about how high the cost of healthcare is today so anything to eliminate those doctors’ visits is a good thing. Everyone knows or are finding out that not dealing with sleep apnea can have a profound effect on your life. Less sleep can effect your personality as well as your general thought process but probably the biggest effect is what it does to your heart.

When you have sleep apnea there is a blockage in the back of your throat that causes you to stop breathing. The brain recognizes this lack of oxygen and forces you to awake. With those with sleep apnea this could happen as many as thirty times or more an hour in the worse cases. All that disruption of breathing can take a real toll on your heart. Without sleep apnea your heart pumps heart continuously, unfortunately if you have it this process is slowed down, causing your heart to get less oxygen, which it needs to function. Over a period of time this can increase your chances of heart disease and high blood pressure.

If you are able to use a CPAP then you can turn around this destructive pattern if that doesn’t work check with your doctor for other types of treatments.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is AHI?

 If you are familiar with sleep apnea then you know that the problem that you have is waking up during the night due to a blockage of the airway in the back of the throat. The brain senses that the intake of oxygen has stopped and you are immediately awaken to breathe again. This could occur hundreds of times each night depending on how bad your blockage is. But how do you know how bad your sleep apnea is? The way to find out the severity of your sleep apnea is by having a sleep study where your sleep or lack of it is monitored closely. By the end of the night your AHI or apnea-hypopnea index determines your level of sleep apnea.

What is Apnea-hypopnea Index?

AHI is the number of times that your sleep and breathing is interrupted during the night. During the sleep study you are hooked up to many wires that monitor your sleep. A sleep technician in another room watches you sleep and also watches the AHI and other indexes. The AHI is actually the addition of the number of apnea, which are the total cessation of breathing and hypopnea which is the partial obstruction of breathing.

What is AHI used for?

The AHI number will be used to show how severe your sleep apnea is and it will also help determine what kind of treatment you will need. A mild sleep apnea is 5 to 15 events per hour during the evening, a moderate is 15 to 30, while a severe sleep apnea is greater than 30. By using these ranges the doctor will be able to establish the course of treatment.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does the brain help with sleep apnea?

The body seems to make adjustments when things are going right. When you are scared the body releases chemicals to fight off the terror. Or when you get hurt the body releases endorphins to help with the pain and injury. So what does the body do when you are suffering from sleep apnea? You stop breathing and the brain goes into panic mode and wakes you up. But according to a new study by the University of Toronto the brain also releases a chemical called noradrenaline that helps the brain learn more effectively.

The article goes on to state that the brain forces the respiratory muscles to work harder as we struggle with sleep apnea. Apparently the chemical noradrenaline helps all this to occur. Which brings up an interesting question what if there was a medication that increased the level of noradrenaline? If all that were worked out you have a drug to help with sleep apnea. Of course all this would take time to happen, way in the future.

That is really interesting because I always wondered how people, myself included, could go on with the little amount of sleep that we have. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t get enough sleep but their findings are interesting. Hopefully something will come of this.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CPAP and medications

Most folks who have sleep apnea know that it is a bad idea to take sleeping pills of any kind. The last thing that you want to do is to make the tissue in the back of your throat more relaxed then it usually is. But what if you have been using a cpap machine and you have been reasonably successful in getting used to it but you still can’t fall asleep. Can you use any kind of sleeping pill or other sedatives to help you go to sleep with sleep apnea?

When I did a search for information about if sleeping pills can be used I found the following answer on Someone wrote in on a forum and Doctor David Rappoport responded with the following answer “If you're using your CPAP, taking a mild sleeping pill to deal with mask discomfort and help you fall asleep is safe, as long as you keep the mask on. However, if you remove the mask—say, you get up in the middle of the night and, because you've taken a sleeping pill, you're groggy and inadvertently forget to put the mask back on—your sleep apnea will worsen.”

I wish that I had known about this when I was struggling with my CPAP and BIPAP; it certainly would have made a difference if I had a little help falling asleep. Of course if you are using a CPAP make sure you check with your doctor before taking any kind of sedative.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed