Sleep disorders have become a significant health concern in the United States, with an estimated 22 million Americans affected by sleep apnea. Around 80% of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed, so if you suspect you might have this disorder, it is important to seek medical help. When left untreated, sleep apnea can do much more than make you feel tired or fatigued during the day. It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and depression – to name just a few conditions. Recent studies on sleep apnea show it has more serious effects than originally imagined.
New Findings on Sleep Apnea
In the past few years alone, many findings have been made on the effect of sleep apnea on different facets of human health. One study published in January 2018 found that sleep apnea after having a stroke increases the risk of having another stroke. A 2017 study found that sleep apnea, when left untreated for just a few days, can increase blood sugar, fat levels, stress hormones, and blood pressure – a dangerous mix indeed. Yet another study showed that sleep apnea can increase the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Considering there are solutions for this problem, it makes little sense to let it go unchecked.
What are Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea?
Common signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, lack of energy during the day, morning headaches, and waking up with a dry sensation in the throat. If you have these symptoms, you may be asked to take a polysomnogram, usually undertaken at a sleep center but sometimes at home. The key is to monitor brain, muscle, and breathing activity, to fully understand what disorder you might have.
Small changes in your bedroom can have an important impact on the quality of your sleep. Your doctor should be able to recommend the right mattress for your sleeping position. Those who sleep on their side, for instance, usually favor softer mattresses, unlike belly or back sleepers, who need more support. A good mattress for overweight people, meanwhile, should contain technology such as memory foam, which will ensure the entire body is supported. Research shows that side and stomach sleeping are best for those with sleep apnea. Doctors also recommend that patients raise the head of their beds or use pillows, which can help prevent blockage while breathing. Adjustable bed supports can therefore help ensure your head stays high while you sleep
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
The usual treatment for sleep apnea involves wearing a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP), which gently blows air in order to keep the airway open during sleep. Other methods include upper airway surgery (to remove tissue blocking the airway), dental appliances that alter the positioning of the lower jaw, and a stimulator that controls tongue movement. Complementary approaches include the use of the correct mattress and pillow for one’s sleeping position.
If you snore or wake up feeling tired and fatigues, checking to see whether or not you have sleep apnea is key. Take heart in the plethora of treatments available. You may need to make a few changes to your bedroom or habits as well, which are well worth the investment considering the serious effects of apnea on your health.