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Does Smoking Cause Sleep Apnea

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Risks Of Smoking If You Have Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea and smoking can independently impact your breathing, but together they have amplified negative effects on your airway.The combination of smoking and non-CPAP adherence is also made dangerous as they can both provoke similar risk factors related to stroke, diabetes, airway inflammation, high blood pressure and heart problems.

That Evening Drag: The Problem Of Smoking And Sleep Apnea

Smokers often believe that having a bedtime cigarette helps them to sleep better.

Nicotine does seem to relax the body in certain ways to make this theory believable.

However, smoking does more harm than good when it comes to sleep health.

If you consider how smoking also leads to chronic breathing concerns and myriad diseases and health problems, it seems like the brief relaxation benefit of a quick puff at bedtime may not be worth the risk.

Check out these 3reasons why smoking creates sleep problems, especially as they relate to obstructive sleep apnea .

Anthropometric And Biochemical Measurements

Standardized anthropometric measurements were recorded as previously described . Fasting venous blood was sampled at 8 a.m. the morning after PSG. Plasma glucose and lipid levels were measured as described previously . Venous blood samples were centrifuged for serum and stored at -80°C before subsequent batch assays of MCP-1, AOPP and 8-isoprostane.

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Secondhand Smoke And Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing throughout the night. It occurs when tissues in the throat block the upper airway. OSA is relatively rare in children , but it is nothing to be taken lightly. Left untreated, OSA can have severe short-term and long-term health consequences.

A study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology found a strong correlation between an increased risk of severe sleep apnea in children and secondhand smoke. This remained true even after the researchers adjusted for other OSA risk factors in the studys participants, such as body mass index, race, and estimated household income.

The Two Types Of Sleep Apnea That Exist Are:

How Smoking Affects Snoring and Sleep Apnea
  • Obstructive sleep apnea This is the most common form of the disorder and results from a blockage in your airway. Sometimes, the airway temporarily collapses, and other times, something else blocks it. The obstruction causes the air that gets past it to produce loud snorts and snoring.
  • Central sleep apnea This type of apnea happens when the area of the brain that affects breathing doesnt communicate with the muscles used for breathing right. It often occurs in patients with underlying conditions or prescription medicines that affect the brainstem.

Some patients can have both obstructive and central sleep apnea. This form of the disorder requires a multifaceted approach for successful treatment.

Certain people are more susceptible to sleep apnea than others. Men have a higher risk of having sleep apnea than women, and your risk gets higher as you age. Children and infants can also develop the condition, with one to four percent of children experiencing sleep apnea. Family history and health issues, like diabetes and heart problems, can increase your risks of sleep apnea.

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The Relationship Between Smoking And Snoring

It seems logical that smoking may increase your risk of snoring. The irritating smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco may cause inflammation along with the tissues that line the airway. This may lead to swelling, causing an exudate of mucus often called post-nasal drip, and narrowing. As the airway narrows, airflow may move more turbulently.

This disruption of your upper airway, especially your nasal passage and throat, may have other consequences. It may cause increased airway congestion. The turbulent airflow may lead to vibration as air moves through, leading to the unpleasant sound of snoring. This risk seems to be increased among smokers, and even those who previously smoked.

Large scientific research studies evaluating snoring support these proposed associations. In one study of 811 adults, the risk of snoring was 2.3 times greater among current smokers. This means the risk was more than doubled compared to those who did not smoke!

Although not studied, it is very likely that secondhand smoke exposure also increases the risk of developing snoring.

Ways Smoking Aggravates Sleep Apnea

A 2001 sleep apnea study found that current smokers were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from OSA than non-smokers, independent of age, sex, weight, and other lifestyle behaviors. Why do smokers suffer from sleep apnea at a much higher rate than non-smokers? Here are five big reasons.

  • Smoking causes airway inflammation. Tobacco smoke can irritate your mouth, throat, and lungs, causing inflammation. This inflammation can make your airway smaller and make it more difficult to breathe.
  • Nicotine stimulates upper airway muscles. Nicotine doesnt just stimulate your heart, it can also affect your airway muscles. Your contracted muscles can make regular breathing difficult.
  • Nighttime nicotine withdrawal causes sleep disturbances. A 2008 study found that smokers are four times more likely to report feeling unrested and that smokers spend significantly less time in deep sleep. Researchers believe that this is because smokers go through withdrawal at night. Sleep disturbances related to this withdrawal could exacerbate sleep apnea.
  • Smoking contributes to overall health issues. Just like sleep apnea, smoking can affect almost all body systems. For example, smoking has been shown to affect the brain, lungs, heart, and immune system. These negative affects that smoking has on the body can in turn make a persons sleep apnea worse.

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The Burden Of Cac And Sleep

The mean CAC score, CAC volume, and CAC mass were 193.0 ± 274.1, 132.3 ± 194.5, and 25.5 ± 35.6, respectively. Twenty-three patients had a positive CAC score. When we categorized the study population into four groups based on the quartiles of the RDI value, the CAC score was observed to be higher in patients with higher RDI values . Higher CAC scores were associated with elevated RDI value, apnea index, ODI, and STOP-BANG score. Arousal index and PLMI had no significant correlation with CAC. On the other hand, the minimum oxygen saturation was inversely correlated with the CAC score . Linear regression analysis adjusting for the potential determinants of the CAC score such as age, sex, body mass index, total cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and smoking status revealed that the atherosclerotic burden as measured by the CAC score was independently associated with the RDI value , ODI , and STOP-BANG score , while there was no statistically significant association between the CAC score and the apnea index or the minimal and average O2 saturation levels .

Figure 1. Differences in coronary artery calcium scores by the respiratory disturbance index quartiles.

Figure 2. Correlation between the coronary calcium score and variables related to sleep-disordered breathing.

Table 2. Multivariate analysis for determinants of the coronary artery calcium scores.

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The Effects Of Smoking On Your Sleep

What Causes Sleep Apnea and How Do You Treat It?

Nicotine is a stimulant just like sugar and coffee, which can alter the expression of clock genes in the lungs and the brain according to research, with long term effects.

Smoking can cause frequent awakenings, snoring and make it harder to fall asleep. It also acts as an irritant that can provoke swelling in the nose and throat, reducing the space left for airflow. This makes it harder to breathe as your throat tissue becomes more irritated and swollen, which can cause obstructive sleep apnea.1

Just as you wouldnt wind down with an espresso before bed, a cigarette prior to going to sleep actually introduces a powerful stimulus into the bloodstream which can cause insomnia and/or sleep-disordered breathing, rather than relaxing your body. 2

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Does Marijuana Use Cause Sleep Problems

Cannabis use is linked to an increased likelihood of sleeping problems, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and presented at the SLEEP 2014 meeting.

In April this year, Medical News Today reported on a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience where researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 40 regular marijuana smokers aged 18-25.

Comparing the scans with brain scans of individuals with little or no history of marijuana use, the researchers found that the area of the brain responsible for reward processing the nucleus accumbens was larger and had an altered shape and structure in the marijuana users.

The amygdala a region of the brain involved in emotion also displayed abnormalities in marijuana smokers, with the abnormalities being greater the more marijuana was smoked by the participants.

And a 2013 study, by researchers at the Feinburg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Illinois, found that heavy use of marijuana produces changes in brain function that result in schizophrenia-like symptoms.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey . They looked at 1,811 adults aged 20-59 who had reported using cannabis. NHANES collected information on sleeping patterns, at what age the participants first used the drug and the number of times they had used the drug in the past month.

Stick To A Regular Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same times every day helps you to get the right kind of sleep. You need to experience the full cycle of deep- and lighter-stage sleep to feel well rested. A regular sleeping schedule also prevents you from getting overtired, which can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.

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Sleep Problems Lead To Heart Failure

OSA is more common among people who are overweight, but anyone can get it. The tissue in the back of your throat relaxes and blocks your airway while you sleep. You stop breathing, so your brain signals your throat muscles to contract, which opens up your airway again. This can happen dozens or even hundreds of times a night.

Your brain also releases stress hormones during these episodes. They can raise your heart rate and your blood pressure which raises your chance of developing heart failure or making it worse.

Researchers have also found a strong link between trouble falling or staying asleep and the likelihood of heart failure. One reason may be that insomnia triggers the bodys stress response, which could weaken your heart over time.

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Drugs That Can Cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What Do You Need To Know About Sleep Apnea?

A psychologist colleague of mine once told me that at the hospital where he works, many of his patients are on antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. A significant number of these patients will go on to gain significant weight, snore heavily, and end up dying of heart attacks or strokes. While this is purely anecdotal, based on what we know about the side effects of commonly prescribed prescription medications, its not too far fetched for the following reason: Any medication that causes weight gain can potentially aggravate or uncover obstructive sleep apnea.

Ive written extensively in the past how obstructive sleep apnea is mainly a structural problem with narrow jaws and upper airways, but if you add fat in the throat due to being overweight, it just makes things much worse. Here are 7 commonly prescribed prescription medications that can aggravate obstructive sleep apnea due to their ability to put on weight:

2. Depakote is a common mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disease and seizures. Its also used to prevent migraines. One study found that 44% of women and 24% of men gained about 11 pounds on average over one year.

4. Prednisone, one of many corticosteroids to control inflammation, is one of the most commonly prescribed medications. Chronic, long-term use is given for asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and various other autoimmune conditions. One study found that 70% of people on chronic steroid use reported significant weight gain.

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Effects On Sleep Quality

The presence of nicotine in both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes negatively impacts the sleep cycle by acting as a stimulant during prime sleeping hours. Despite the common misconception that smoking before bed helps promote sleep, research shows that nicotine use actually heightens mental alertness. Upon exposure to nicotine, the body begins to produce adrenaline, causing increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. This physical stimulant creates an environment not conducive to a proper nights sleep. For these reasons, regular use of nicotine can increase the severity of sleep difficulties.

In addition to an adrenaline rush, research indicates that nicotine also hinders the deepest stage of sleep the REM cycle due to withdrawal symptoms that disrupt our bodys natural circadian rhythm. Those who vape experience more apneic events pauses or cessations in breathing during sleep than their counterparts. The strong association between smoking and sleep cycle disturbances directly links nicotine use with the development of obstructive sleep apnea.

Although nicotine reduces the number of apneic events an individual with OSA experiences in the first hour of sleep, once this period passes the body experiences nicotine withdrawal which increases bouts of sleep apnea. Furthermore, nicotine causes inflammation of the nose, throat, and lungs, inducing nighttime breathing issues and ultimately worsening existing trouble with sleep apnea.

Solution: Get Oral Appliance Therapy In Fort Atkinson Today

If youre struggling to quit smoking or vaping, and you want to quit, one of the best places to start is with sleep apnea treatment. If youre not already diagnosed with sleep apnea, this will be our starting point. Dr. Stafford will refer you to a home sleep testing service where you will wear a device while you sleep for two nights. Then, a physician will review your results and diagnose you with sleep apnea if you have it.

After you receive a diagnosis, you will meet with Dr. Stafford to discuss your treatment options. She will also examine your airway as well as your jaw to determine if there are any other underlying problems like TMJ that need to be addressed. Dr. Stafford will then provide you with a custom treatment plan including a custom-made oral appliance. You will wear the appliance while you sleep every night. It will hold your airway open so you can breathe effectively throughout the nightsnore and apnea-free.

Once you start feeling relief from sleep apnea symptoms, you might feel more motivated to quit smoking or vaping. With consistency and hard work, you can completely transform your quality of life and overall health.

Contact our Fort Atkinson sleep apnea dentist today at to book an appointment.

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Sleep Apnea And Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and globally. Several behaviors increase the risk of heart disease, including eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough physical activity, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking. Health conditions that increase the risk of heart disease include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity.

Untreated sleep apnea also significantly increases the risk of heart arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease. Its estimated that patients with sleep apnea are 2-4 four times more likely to develop heart arrhythmias than people without this condition. Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.

Starting Your Medical Marijuana Journey

Does CPAP Cause Central Apneas? CPAP Induced Central Sleep Apnea. Interpret Sleep

If you think that medical marijuana could be a good medication option for you or someone you know with sleep apnea, its easy to get started when you have the necessary information. Here at, we aim to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed medical decision.

The first step to starting cannabis medication is learning about your state laws and what they require you to do to become eligible for medical marijuana use. Second, you will need to find a licensed medical marijuana doctor. Third, youll need to choose a local dispensary for purchasing your medical marijuana for your sleep apnea.

At, we provide a database with a convenient, easy-to-use search engine for finding licensed doctors and dispensaries. Start your medical marijuana journey today by browsing for a compassionate medical marijuana physician and dispensary near you.

Find A Doctor Find A Dispensary

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Try Some Different Foods And Drink

Have you heard that having a warm cup of milk before bed helps you sleep?

Warm milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps your body produce melatonin that signals your body to wind down and sleep at night.5

Other foods containing the amino acid L-tryptophan include chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish, eggs, tofu and sunflower seeds if you want to give any of those a try instead.

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Sleep Apnea And Vaping Its More Serious Than You Think

Worried about your sleep apnea and vaping? Living with sleep apnea can be tough, so its important to avoid anything that can make it harder.

Vaping has grown in popularity as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but its likely just as bad. The nicotine can still wreck your sleep and research says vaping can aggravate sleep apnea.

Good news you can improve things with better sleep hygiene, making sure you have a sleep apnea treatment that works for you, and weaning yourself off caffeine.

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Sleeping On Your Back

Sleeping position is a pretty hard factor to modify, but with enough help from a partner or family member, you can start getting used to sleeping on the side. Sleeping in the supine position increases the tendency of snoring and worsen sleep apnea. On the other hand, people who suffer from OSA were found to have reduced sleep apnea episodes when they sleep on their side. This is also true for people who dont suffer from OSA but are loud snorers.

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