Is YOUR sleep constantly being interrupted? Are you tired everyday, and can’t figure out why? You may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea!
It’s amazing how many people I’ve encountered, who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Years ago, an x-boyfriend had sleep issues and it scared the daylights out of me. One minute he was breathing, the next minute he wasn’t. Then he’d snore loudly and then stop. It was as if he was holding his breath. What he had was “obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)” and it was scary to witness.
A friend of mine, recently shared her experience with me. She had afternoon sleepiness so if she sat down in the afternoon, she fell asleep or at least wanted to. She woke up at least a couple times a night sometimes from a dead sleep and had no idea why. She woke up breathless which was disconcerting. Two times she woke up with all air completely cut off and it was downright terrifying for not only herself, but for her husband as it woke him. He had been complaining about her terrible snoring. Many times we snore, but don’t realize it until our partner complains.
Over the course of 4 months, she saw a regular doctor, a sleep doctor, and a sleep therapist for a sleep study at home, and then had a sleep study at a hospital sleep center. Two weeks after spending the night at the center, it was determined that she too was diagnosed with OSA. The sleep center revealed it was that she stopped breathing 16 times an hour. WOW, that’s shocking!
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly, and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. I mentioned using snoring strips in the post “Losing Sleep Due To Snoring? Try These!” which is fine for just snoring, but Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is a much more serious condition.
In my experience, when I hear that someone suffers from sleep apnea, they usually are male. In fact, besides my friend, only ONE other female that I knew suffered from sleep apnea. In fact Alaskasleep.com says that “Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, men are often diagnosed with sleep apnea almost 8 times more often than women.”
Signs of sleep apnea in women, may not be obvious. EOS.com says “When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, men and women often experience varying symptoms. While men often report symptoms such as snoring, waking up gasping for air or snorting, many women report symptoms like fatigue, anxiety and depression. Of course, some women also experience shortness of breath and snoring too, but, in many cases, the telltale signs of sleep apnea in females may not be as obvious.”
How Does One Get Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.
Your brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it.
When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in, and you can’t get an adequate breath in. This may lower the level of oxygen in your blood.
What a CPAP Machine?
CPAP the most popular treatment for OSA. It simply works by pushing air into the back of the throat acting as a splint to keep the airway open. CPAP is very safe. It generally works from the first night of treatment. Many people don’t like these machines, and find them annoying due to the loudness and awkwardness of the unit itself.
Here’s a video is what a CPAP looks like:
Are there CPAP Alternatives?
According to sleepassociation.org there are several treatment options and CPAP alternatives for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most popular treatment for sleep apnea, there are other therapies available.
Is There A Cure?
The Sleep Association says that the word ‘cure’ is often used frivolously by businesses selling obstructive sleep apnea treatment products on the internet. It certainly is seductive to be cured of any disorder, including sleep apnea. The word ‘cure’ refers to no longer having any component of the disorder.
If you believe that your sleep troubles may be due to sleep apnea rather than another sleep disorder, contact a sleep specialist and ask if a sleep study is right for you.
Do you suffer from sleep apnea and what method do you use to control it? Please leave a comment.