The Truth about Sleep Apnea - What You Need to Know

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A common misconception about sleep apnea and other related sleeping disorders is that they're only experienced by older people who are overweight. However, this simply isn't true, as plenty of younger people experience the same issues with their sleep and breathing. You might think you can treat your condition with over-the-counter medication, but if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's time to see your doctor, and perhaps even consider seeing a sleep expert. Read on to find out more about the symptoms and treatments for sleep apnea and other common sleeping disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by frequent pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while someone sleeps. If you're wondering how to tell if you have sleep apnea, the condition can be diagnosed with a sleep study.

Some symptoms may point to this sleeping disorder, including snoring and difficulty breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can disrupt your life and cause serious health problems if it's not treated or managed properly.

How Can I Tell If My Loved One is affected?

There are a lot of signs to look for if you think your loved one has sleep apnea. One red flag is that they snore loudly and frequently. They might also be very sleepy during the day, even after getting a full night's sleep. Or, your partner or roommate might tell you about excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

If any of these examples sounds like your loved one, it's time to schedule a doctor's appointment to get them tested for the disorder.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may experience symptoms of insomnia, such as trouble sleeping and waking up frequently. Some people with sleep apnea stop breathing as many as 200 times per hour when they're asleep, which will cause them to wake up often throughout the night.

If these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, it's important to visit your doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history. In addition to looking at the symptoms of sleep apnea, they will also measure the oxygen levels in your blood and check for other disorders that can cause similar symptoms.

Will a CPAP Machine Help Me?

A CPAP machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea, and it can help you sleep better. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and it works by giving you the extra air pressure that you need while you sleep. A CPAP machine will keep your airways open so they don't collapse while you're asleep, which will allow you to breathe easier.

Many individuals who have sleep apnea have testified to the benefits of this medical device, but you should consult your PCP to discuss if this is a good step for you to take.

Is There Any Alternative Treatment Available?

There are many alternative treatments for sleep apnea. One of the most popular is a mandibular advancement device, also known as an oral appliance. This device forces the lower jaw forward to open up the airway and is often recommended for those who have mild sleep apnea.

Another alternative treatment is nasal strips, which can be helpful for those with mild sleep apnea or chronic snoring. Other treatments include weight loss and soft palate surgery.

Does My Age Matter?

It is important to note that the relationship between sleep apnea and age is not a clear one. The condition itself can develop over time, and it can also be brought on by things such as weight gain or stress.

However, symptoms of the condition can start appearing in younger people as well. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, don't hesitate to speak with your doctor about getting diagnosed!

Can Stress Cause Sleep Apnea?

Can stress cause sleep apnea? Yes, stress is a major factor in the development of obstructive sleep apnea. If you're suffering from some kind of chronic physical or mental stress, it can contribute to the development of sleep apnea.

Stress can cause your muscles to tighten and restrict your airways while you're sleeping, which leads to difficulty breathing and waking up in the middle of the night struggling for air.

Chronic stress can also cause insomnia, which will further impede your ability to get enough quality sleep at night. The next time you feel stressed about something, take some time for yourself and try these calming activities before bedtime: yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or reading a book with a good plot line.

How Many People Suffer From It?

Approximately 2-3% of the population suffers from sleep apnea, and this number increases significantly with age. It affects an estimated 18 million Americans and is thought to contribute to other conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Additionally, as many as 30% of people over the age of 65 have sleep apnea. It is more common in men than women and in people who are obese or smokers.

Can You Live Without Treatment?

Many people can live without treatment. They may have a good quality of life and be able to function well on a day-to-day basis. If you are in this category, you must take steps to manage your sleep apnea so as not to cause other health problems or discomfort.

This might involve sleeping with your head elevated, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and limiting the amount of time spent in bed if you do not feel refreshed when you wake up.

Final Thoughts

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects a person's quality of sleep and health. The disorder can lead to stroke, diabetes, and heart problems. In this blog post, we talked about the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea as well as how it can be treated. If you or someone you know has been experiencing these symptoms, it's important to see your doctor right away.

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