Sunday, March 27, 2011

Which treatment do I need to cure my Sleep Apnea?

Lack of sleep can be a problem for anyone. Feeling tired and lacking energy can make any day long and challenging. You might be able to get by with an overload of coffee but when that runs out you are through. There are many reasons why folks don’t sleep such as insomnia which might be a temporary situation or it could be something worse like sleep apnea, which can be life threatening. Unfortunately there are many people who don’t even know that they have sleep apnea. A sleep study ordered from your doctor would quickly determine whether you have sleep apnea or not. If you do have it then you with help from your doctor have to find a treatment for your sleep apnea.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is using a CPAP machine, which pushes air into your throat continuously preventing your airway from being blocked. If you have done any research on the net then you know that not everyone is a fan of the CPAP. In my own case I tried two different machines and didn’t have any luck with either of them. It is rather cumbersome to have to sleep with a mask on your face and the air blowing into your mouth isn’t exactly comfortable either. But many folks have gotten used to the machine allowing them to once again to sleep.

Although losing weight wouldn’t completely cure your sleep apnea it will certainly help. A healthy lifestyle is good for anyone whether you have sleep apnea or not. Exercising regularly might be difficult for those with this sleep disorder because your lack of sleep doesn’t give you much energy during the day. But it is still worth a try talk to your doctor about what type of exercise program that would be right for you.

Surgery is probably the last option because it doesn’t always work and the recovery time can be lengthy. The one surgery that has the best record is Maxillomandibular advancement. According to an article in NPR it is accurate in 90 % of the time but the recovery period can be up to a year.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are you ignoring your sleep apnea?

I have read that there are a vast number of people who have sleep apnea and don’t know it. I believe it but there is probably is also a vast number of folks that have it and are doing nothing about it.

About 20 or 30 years ago no one ever spoke about sleep apnea at least it didn’t seem that they did. Snoring was and is a common problem (especially for those who have to listen to it every night). What a lot of folks didn’t realize that the snoring that they were hearing could be part of something far worse than they imagined, sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea has gotten a lot of press over the past 10 to 15 years because of all the harmful health issues that it can create. So more and more doctors are setting up folks for overnight sleep studies, which determine whether you have sleep apnea or not and if they do then the treatments are discussed.

Here is where the problem lies; some of the treatments are difficult to deal with. Of course the number one treatment is using the CPAP machine, which pushes air through a tube into the back of your throat. As I have written before I wasn’t ever able to get used to the machine even after 2 tries with different masks. The other option is surgery and from what I have read that isn’t always successful and if it is it takes a long time to recover.

Unfortunately there could be consequences to not controlling your sleep apnea, such as major health problems like heart disease. One thing that I am trying to do right now is lose weight, which might not stop the sleep apnea completely it will lessen the blockage in the back of the throat at least somewhat.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sleep apnea and hypoxia

Lack of oxygen from sleep apnea can be the cause of many ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease and vascular disease which could be life threatening. The constant interruption of breathing due to blockage in the back of throat is the culprit, slows down the intake of oxygen. There is also a condition called hypoxic tumors that are caused by the lack of oxygen. According to an article in the San Francisco Gate Dr. Jin Zhou “believes that both hypoxic tumor and sleep apnea may possibly share the same causes, thus need same solutions.”

What is hypoxia?

The condition of hypoxia is when there is a shortage of oxygen going to parts of the body or the whole body itself. (Anoxia is when there isn’t any oxygen). The symptoms of hypoxia are light headedness, nausea, headaches and fatigue among other things. If you are climbing a mountain or doing anything to increase your elevation than you will probably experience some hypoxia. If the ascend is gradual than the symptoms will also be gradual.

Other causes of hypoxia are …

  • Smoke inhalation  
  • Paralysis of throat muscles 
  • Choking 
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning 
  • Pressure on the windpipe

 According to the National Institute of Health treatment should include

• Breathing assistance (mechanical ventilation)

• Controlling the heart rate and rhythm

• Fluids, blood products, or medications to raise blood pressure if it is low

• Medications including phenytoin, phenobarbital, valproic acid, or general anesthetics to calm seizures

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