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What Is Sleep Apnea And Why You Need To Know

What is sleep apnea? If you are asking this question then what if you are not just tired? People all across the nation are afflicted with sleep apnea. They are waking up multiple times in the night, feel exhausted in the morning, and battle fatigue all day long.

How long will it take to wake up to this major health afflicting issue? Do not hit the snooze button, it is time to face your sleep disorder head-on. Learn how sleep apnea is diagnosed and treated.

What Is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea is an incredibly common condition defined when the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing airflow to become reduced or to stop completely. As a result, the brain and rest of the body do not get the oxygen that it needs and signals are sent to the chest to palpate until breathing resumes. Instead of being able to rest, sleep apnea forces the body to fight for air.

There is more than one answer to ‘What is sleep apnea?’, because sleep apnea is actually just one in a group of conditions listed under “sleep-disordered breathing.” There are several types of sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms can be hard to catch because they occur during sleep. Most people are unaware that they have an issue unless their spouse alerts them to their loud snoring or gasping for air.

However, sleep apnea side effects are also quite common during the day and include, waking up confused, waking with a headache, having a sore throat or dry mouth, excessive sleepiness, daytime fatigue, moodiness such as irritability, decreased focus, insomnia, and waking up due to choking or gasping. Again, please note that snoring is the number one sign, especially for OSA.

What is sleep apnea? The major disorder affecting millions
Obstruction Sleep Apnea

If you aren’t sure if you have are at risk for sleep apnea refer to the following list. If you have check yes for two or more of the following factors consider getting tested:

Sleep Apnea Risk Check List

If you think you may be at risk, then the sooner you get tested the better. Sleep apnea really takes a toll your quality of life. Also, when left untreated it can contribute to major health issues such as diabetes, stroke, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity and heart issues including heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart failure.

Sleep Apnea Testing

What is sleep apnea? It is dangerous, but luckily it’s not too difficult to diagnose. All that is required is an overnight test, which can be done a few different ways. People have the option of taking a nocturnal polysomnography test, which involves going to a doctor’s office for a lengthy stay. This method is often considered to be uncomfortable as patients have to try and rest in an unfamiliar office while being attached to tubes.

However, the other testing method involved the comfort of your own home. By contacting a durable medical equipment provider (DME) you can have a sleep apnea test sent directly to your doorstep, with easy to use instructions.

Simply wear the device for one night to allow it to measure your pulse and detect when and how many times your breathing stops. Qualified clinicians will then measure your test results to see if you need to seek sleep apnea treatment or not.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are a variety of sleep apnea treatment methods based on the severity of the condition and individual prescriptions. These treatments range from simple lifestyle changes to using airway devices. By being able to answer ‘What is sleep apnea’ you can get on the right track to managing the condition. A few of the most common treatments include:

Healthy Lifestyle Changes and Self Remedies – If you are overweight you may be asked to start living a more active lifestyle to shed a little weight. Even a slight loss can reduce restriction on your throat. Also, you may be asked to stop smoking as it worsens OSA, and to avoid alcohol.

Sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back may also help. Plus, the use of saline sprays or nasal decongestants to keep your nasal nasal passages clear of blockages may be recommended. 

What is sleep apnea? The sleep disorder treated by CPAP machines

CPAP Device – Therapies that involve the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This sleep apnea treatment method is actually the most common and most effective way to manage this sleep disorder.

As a patient sleeps with a CPAP mask, it will deliver air pressure that is just strong enough to keep their upper airway passages open to prevent snoring and apnea.

CPAP machines have been developed over the years to become more comfortable and to fit the individual needs of patients. Contact your DME specialist and they will use your prescription information to help you find the best fit.

If you qualify for a CPAP through insurance then your DME specialist will actually take the steps to contact your doctor and insurance provider to ensure that your CPAP supplies are directly shipped to your front door.

Other Apnea Machines – In some cases a CPAP is not the best treatment option. Other machines like the BiPAP which supplies bilevel positive airway pressure, oral appliances such as retainers to keep the throat open, and the expiratory positive pressure (EPAP) that allows air to moves freely into your nostrils, but increases pressure as you exhale by sending your air through a valve.  

Sleep Apnea Surgery – In some cases surgical options are available to correct apnea issues. Patients may have their jaw repositioned to move it forward in order to enlarge the space behind your soft palate. Also, tissue removal to remove tissue from the top of the throat is quite common.

In some cases a tracheostomy may be performed to create a new passageway or nasal surgery to correct a deviated septum will resolve the issue. Other sleep apnea treatments include weight loss surgery and surgery to remove enlarged tonsils.

Wake Up And Stop Sleep Apnea

So, what is sleep apnea? Well, now you know it is the major condition affecting people of all ages, including children and young adults, while most of them don’t even know they have it. When left untreated it can turn into much more than a sleep disorder as it causes major health issues.

However, why wait? With a simple at-home test you can easily take the steps to treat your apnea to greatly improve your quality of life.

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