I have Sleep Apnea. It is the obstuctive type and is brought on by my being morbidly obese. I use a CPAP machine every night when I sleep. Albeit the fact that it helps me sleep and that I wake up rested and with energy, I hate that friggin machine. I have strap marks when I wake up in the morning. I have skin irritation on my forehead, nose and above my mouth. It royally bites and I can't wait until the day I do not need it anymore. I am hoping by the end of this year to be re-evaluated and ditch it entirely.
This is a helpful article on Sleep Apnea that was on WebMd:
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain -- and the rest of the body -- may not get enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.
Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
Being over the age of forty
Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
Having a family history of sleep apnea
Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:
High blood pressure
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.
Common sleep apnea symptoms include:
Waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat
Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
Sleepiness while driving
Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
Sleep Apnea Tests and Diagnosis
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may ask you to have a sleep apnea test in a sleep disorder center. This often includes a polysomnogram.
A polysomnogram -- or sleep study -- is a multiple-component test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. The recordings are analyzed by a qualified sleep specialist to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder. If sleep apnea is determined, you may be asked to return to the lab for further evaluation in order to determine the best treatment option.
Behavioral Modifications for Sleep Apnea
In mild cases of sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed. Conservative approaches include:
Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills
Changing sleep positions to promote regular breathing
Stop smoking. Smoking can increase the swelling in the upper airway which may worsen both snoring and apnea.
Avoid sleeping on your back
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure -- also called CPAP -- is a treatment in which a mask is worn over the nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is hooked up to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air into the nostrils. The positive pressure from air flowing into the nostrils helps keep the airways open so that breathing is not impaired. CPAP is considered by many experts to be the most effective treatment for sleep apnea.
I hope this helps you if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. It can be fatal if left untreated. Please see a doctor if you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one. Until next time...