Friday, March 10, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

A man sleeping with a breathing apparatus on.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Happy Friday, everyone! Today’s topic is sleep apnea.

The first thing I need you to know is that sleep apnea is a life-threatening medical condition. Yep, you heard me right. You can actually die from it.

I’m not telling you that to scare you; I’m telling you that so that you’ll take the condition seriously and seek medical help. If you think you might have sleep apnea, check to see if you have any of the following signs and symptoms:

·      Snoring
·      Choking or gasping for air
·      Daytime drowsiness
·      Waking up with a headache
·      Trouble concentrating
·      Mood swings
·      Frequently waking up at night
·      Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking

Please note that just because you may have one or two of the above symptoms doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. For example, you may snore and you may also experience drowsiness during the day, but that can be related to a completely different condition. With that being said, these signs and symptoms should be treated as a general guideline and not a medical diagnosis. Please consult with a doctor if you suspect that you have this condition.

Now, should you choose to book an appointment with a doctor, you should know that he or she may recommend that you undergo a sleep study (also known as a polysomnogram). During this procedure, you will be hooked up to censors that monitor your heart rate, breathing, muscle movements, and brain waves. And don’t worry; you’re put into your private room with a bed. It’s a relaxing atmosphere that should curb any anxiety that you may have.

As far as treatments go, there are several different options available. The most common is called a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). A CPAP is a mask that helps the body regulate breathing. Other options include dental devices that open the airways. There’s also a hypoglossal nerve stimulator that can help reposition the tongue and adjust breathing patterns.

If you want to learn more about this topic, I encourage you to visit the Sleep Foundation’s website at https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment. Remember, your health comes first and foremost, so please make it a priority to get this taken care of.
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