Snoring Is Not The Only Symptom
Loud snoring may be the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea ,but its not the only sign. Feeling excessively sleepy during the day is another common symptom.Its falling asleep during work and important meetings, says Dr. Winter.Most people dont connect feeling sleepy with sleep apnea because they may not know theyve been waking up during the night. Snoring is a better tip-offnot only is it loud, but its usually followed by choking and gasping sounds.This snoring and gasping occurs when the tissue in the back of your throat vibrates. However, not all snorers have sleep apnea. Morning headaches, dry mouth, mood swings, and trouble focusing may also point to sleep apnea.
Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe
Sleep apnea can increase your risks of complications if you are having surgery, and it can affect your ability to drive.
- Before surgery. If you are having any type of surgery that requires medicine to put you to sleep or for pain management, let your surgeon and doctors know that you have sleep apnea. They might have to take extra steps to make sure that your upper airway stays open during the surgery and when selecting your pain medicines.
- Driving precautions. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can decrease learning capabilities, slow down decision making, and decrease attention span, which can result in drowsy driving.
Tips To Improve Health And Comfort
Choose a CPAP device with a built-in humidifier. Most devices now include a built-in humidifier, which helps prevent the dryness and skin irritation that can sometimes occur.
If youre experiencing nasal congestion, you may prefer a full-face mask over a nasal or nasal pillow mask. Also be sure to keep your humidifier tank full, keep your tubing and mask clean, and make sure your filter is clean. Nasal sprays and antihistamines also help.
Keep your device clean. Its very important to clean your CPAP hose, nosepiece or mask, and humidifier tub regularly, as a dirty CPAP device can cause infections and even pneumonia. Your sleep doctor and device manufacturer will give you detailed cleaning instructions.
To ensure maximum comfort, ask your doctor about soft pads to reduce skin irritation, nasal pillows for nose discomfort, and chinstraps to keep your mouth closed and reduce throat irritation and dry mouth.
Mask the sound of the CPAP machine. Most new CPAP devices are quiet, but if the sound of your CPAP machine bothers you, try placing it beneath the bed and using a sound machine to muffle the noise.
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Key Points About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Don’t risk falling asleep in a dangerous situation, such as while driving.
Try to set up an appointment with your doctor if your fatigue continues.
If obstructive sleep apnea persists over a long period without treatment, you’re at risk for major health problems and serious events. These can include cardiovascular problems like heart failure and increased blood pressure.
Johns Hopkins Center for Snoring and Sleep Surgery
Johns Hopkins OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgerys experts are now available to implant an FDA-approved hypoglossal nerve stimulator as a new treatment strategy for patients with obstructive sleep apnea . Find out how you can receive this surgical treatment.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Sleep Apnea
If you are concerned about having risk factors for developing sleep apnea, ask your doctor to recommend healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healthy diet, aiming for a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake. Your doctor may recommend that you sleep on your side and adopt healthy sleep habits such as getting the recommended amount of sleep.
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What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea
There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when air cant flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although youre trying to breathe. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles to make you start breathing.
Sleep apnea may be noticed more by the bed partner than by the sleeper, says Jun. Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain of your loud snoring.
That said, snoring itselfthough annoyingisnt the same as sleep apnea. Snoring is just the vibration sound created by airway resistance. You can snore loudly and not have sleep apnea, and you may even have sleep apnea without much snoring.
People with sleep apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings, because their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep.
The consequences can be significant, Jun says. We’re talking about car accidents in the daytime, lost productivity at work, mood swings, waking up feeling groggy and falling asleep in class.
Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva. Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep.
How is Weight Control Linked to Sleep Apnea?
What Are The Health Risks Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to sleep deprivation from constant nightly interruptions and shallower overall sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with far-reaching health consequences that affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally, and as a result, it comes as no surprise that sleep apnea has been tied to diverse health problems.
Because of how it affects oxygen balance in the body, untreated sleep apnea raises dangers for various types of cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
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More Men Than Women Have Sleep Apnea
Middle-aged men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women.Charles Dickens identified the most common sleep apnea patient back in 1837 when he wrote The Pickwick Papers: The main character was “middle-aged and overweight and snored like a banshee and had excessive daytime sleepiness,” says Mark Eric Dyken, MD, professor of neurology and director of the University of Iowa College of Medicine Sleep Disorder Center. But women can develop sleep apnea, too their risk is greater after they reach menopause.
Is Sleep Apnea In Dogs Serious
Yes, dog sleep apnea is a very serious condition, which always demands veterinary attention.
Not only can the lack of sleep be detrimental to your dogs physical and mental well-being, but it can make him stop breathing and pass away suddenly.
And unfortunately for our four-footed friends, its more difficult to treat in animals than it is in humans, since some of the best treatments for people arent possible for our pets. This most notably includes the use of continuous positive airway pressure breathing devices they just dont make em for doggos yet.
But that doesnt mean were completely unable to help our dogs there are some treatments available, which well discuss in the next section.
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Sleep Apnea And The Development Of Health Problems
To start, lets recap what exactly sleep apnea is. Obstructive Sleep Apnea refers to a condition in which your airway completely or partially closes during sleep, thus depriving you of oxygen. Sleep apnea is most commonly treated with CPAP therapy, which delivers pressurized air to help keep your passageways open.
OSA is one of three types of sleep apneathe other two being Central Sleep Apnea and Complex or Mixed Sleep Apnea, which is often known as CompSA to avoid confusion since it would have the same acronym as Central Sleep Apnea.
Lack of sleep directly affects the brains ability to process information and remain attentive. Studies show that being awake for 20 consecutive hours creates the same level of cognitive impairment as having a 0.10 blood alcohol content for reference, you may know that most states legal limit is 0.08. Two-hundredths dont make a difference in a lot of things, but when it comes to your ability to safely drive, its literally the difference between life or death. In addition, several other studies also back this up, including one where sleep-deprived participants were asked to drive a car in a simulator, which resulted in aggressive driving and a decreased ability to remain in control.
Screening For Sleep Apnea
To screen for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, your doctor may ask you about common signs and symptoms of this condition, such as how sleepy you feel during the day or when driving, and whether you or your partner has noticed that you snore, stop breathing, or gasp during your sleep. Your doctor may ask questions to assess your risk for developing this condition and take your physical measurements. Your doctor will also want to see whether you have any complications of undiagnosed sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure that is difficult to control. If the screening suggests a sleep breathing disorder, you may get a referral to a sleep specialist to help confirm a diagnosis.
These Are Eight Of The Health Risks Related To Sleep Apnea:
1. High blood pressure
Studies have shown that sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The amount of increase in blood pressure is related to the severity of sleep apnea more severe sleep apnea produces greater increases in blood pressure. Elevations in blood pressure even can occur in children who have sleep apnea.
2. Heart disease
Untreated sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2005. Sleep apnea increases your risk for an irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that sleep apnea even affects the shape of your heart. Results show that the hearts of people with sleep apnea are enlarged on one side, have thickened walls and a reduced pump function.
Sleep apnea increases your risk for stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2005. A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. It can result from either a blood clot that blocks an artery or from a broken blood vessel.
4. Brain damage
A study in the journal SLEEP in 2008 provided visual evidence of brain damage that occurs in people with sleep apnea. The damage affects brain structures that help control functions such as memory, mood and blood pressure.
Originally published in 2008
What It Is Its Risk Factors Its Health Impacts And How It Can Be Treated
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Sleep apnea is a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea have multiple extended pauses in breath when they sleep. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the bodys supply of oxygen, leading to potentially serious health consequences.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can affect children and adults and people of both sexes, although it is more common in men.
Because of sleep apneas prevalence and potential health impact, it is important for people to be aware of what sleep apnea is and to know its types, symptoms, causes, and treatments.
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What Are The Effects Of Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.
Its likely that sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.
This is because sleep apnea can cause:
- Repeated episodes of oxygen lowering .
- Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
- Direct effects on the heart due to pressure changes within the chest.
- Increased levels of markers of inflammation.
With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure , experts recommend that you dont delay in seeking the advice of your physician.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2020.
Apnea Vs Hypopnea Vs Rera
An apnea is a decrease in airflow of at least 80 percent for 10 seconds or more usually associated with a decrease in blood oxygen of 4% ore more. A hypopnea is a reduction in airflow of at least 50% for 10 seconds or more causing a reduction in blood oxygen of 3% or greater. Both typically cause an arousal.
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Other Positive Airway Pressure Breathing Devices
In addition to CPAP, there are other devices that a sleep specialist may recommend for sleep apnea treatment.
Expiratory positive airway pressure single-use devices fit over the nostrils to help keep the airway open and are smaller, less intrusive than CPAP machines. These may benefit people with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Bilevel positive airway pressure devices can be used for those who are unable to adapt to using CPAP, or for central sleep apnea sufferers who need assistance for a weak breathing pattern. This device automatically adjusts the pressure while youre sleeping, providing more pressure when you inhale, less when you exhale. Some BiPAP devices also automatically deliver a breath if the mask detects that you havent taken one for a certain number of seconds.
Adaptive servo-ventilation devices can be used for treating central sleep apnea as well as obstructive sleep apnea. The ASV device stores information about your normal breathing pattern and automatically uses airflow pressure to prevent pauses in your breathing while youre asleep.
Eight Health Risks Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep. This causes soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway. Breathing pauses can last from 10 seconds to a minute or longer. The pauses end when the body briefly wakes up to gasp for breath. This repetitive cycle of breathing pauses continues all night long. A person with severe sleep apnea may have hundreds of breathing pauses per night.
These breathing pauses produce drastic changes in blood pressure and oxygen levels, while also fragmenting sleep. Over time, untreated sleep apnea puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body, increasing your risk for many other health problems.
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Who Gets Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs in about 25% of men and nearly 10% of women. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including babies and children and particularly people over the age of 50 and those who are overweight.
Certain physical traits and clinical features are common in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. These include excessive weight, large neck and structural abnormalities reducing the diameter of the upper airway, such as nasal obstruction, a low-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils or a small jaw with an overbite.
Can You Die From Untreated Sleep Apnea
Simply put, yes, you can die from untreated sleep apnea. But in reality, youre more likely to die from those risk factors than sleep apnea itself. There are notable cases of celebrity deaths who were known to have sleep apnea but whose autopsies determined the cause of death to be a risk factor condition and not sleep apnea itself. Such cases include actor Carrie Fisher and former football player Reggie White.
Some of the major conditions often linked to sleep apnea in those who have died include:
- Cardiac Conditions. Heart attacks, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation , and myocardial infarctions are all well-known to be linked to the deaths of people who also had sleep apnea.
- Mood Disorders and Mental Health Issues. Depression and anxiety symptoms are prevalent in people with OSA and disturbed sleep, particularly women.
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How Long Can Someone Live With Untreated Sleep Apnea
Its hard to determine how long someone can live with untreated sleep apnea because of two factors:
You cant really put an exact number on how much less or longer someone with untreated sleep apnea will live compared to the average life expectancy. The best that science has been able to achieve is loosely calculate your odds of developing a side effect or risk condition if youve had sleep apnea for a certain amount of time. Those with more severe cases of OSA are three times more likely to have eventual heart failure.
After Facial Surgery Tammy Says Goodbye To Years Of Sleep Apnea
Before coming to Mayo Clinic, Tammy Olson had been told the severe obstructive sleep apnea she’d been living with for years was beyond treatment. After meeting Christopher Viozzi, M.D., D.D.S., a Mayo Clinic oral and maxillofacial surgeon, however, Tammy found the help she so desperately needed.
Tammy Olson was at the end of her rope physically and emotionally. Years of living with the worsening symptoms and effects of severe obstructive sleep apnea had taken their toll on her life, her family and her marriage.
To make matters worse, after failing to respond to continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy and traditional sleep apnea surgical treatments, a local specialist was at a loss for what to do next. “After evaluating me and seeing just how bad things were, he said, ‘I’m sorry, but there’s nothing left we can do for you,’ and then just sent me back home,” Tammy says.
Tammyknew the dark reality of what that dismissal meant for her. “My apnea wasso bad that I’d stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time,” she says. “Iknew my organs couldn’t go on living without oxygen for that long forever. Eventually,over time, I knew this would likely kill me.”
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