Doctors and researchers from the American College of Physicians (ACP) continue to look for different ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and still after a variety of studies, treatment and sleep trials, and the conclusion is still the same. Weight loss and breathing devices are still the best way to treat OSA and have longer lasting effects on the individual’s personal health.
What is Obstructive sleep apnea? OSA is a disorder in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep, interrupting breathing- sometimes dozens of time during a single night. During an obstructive sleep apnea episode the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Breathing resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk, which can interfere with sound sleep. This can happen up to 30 times an hour, for the duration of the night. Not surprisingly, those who suffer from sleep apnea rarely get a solid night’s sleep. In many cases this will cause fatigue during the waking hours to not only the sleep apnea suffer but also their partner who is usually kept awake at night during because of snoring, choking or gasping sounds.
It is not only men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea but women also. Unfortunately, many cases of sleep apnea in both men and women (more so in women) go undiagnosed. Recent studies have shown that the ratio of male/female sleep apnea suffers is closer to 2 to 1. Close to 90% of women who suffer from sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. Many feel this is due to the stigma and embarrassment associated with snoring and talking about with their physician. Typical symptoms of sleep apnea can include: Snoring, Restless sleep, choking during sleep, daytime fatigue, headaches, insomnia, tension, and depression. It also reduces the flow of oxygen to vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms. Having OSA can lead to a number of other medical conditions, including such things as high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, liver problems, and fatigue.
Importance of weight loss
The first recommendation in dealing with obstructive sleep apnea by the ACP and by a majority of doctors is focusing on weight loss and living a healthier life style. The links between excess weight and sleep apnea is well established; however we do need to remember not every obese person by body mass index has OSA. People who are overweight have extra tissue in the back of their throat, which can fall down over the airway and block the flow of air into the lungs while sleeping. This is obviously easier said than done, and it can yield real results. If OSA suffers who suffer from weight issues can lose even 10% of body weight could have a big effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a significant amount of weight can even cure the condition.
The second most recommended treatment was continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. This tends to be the first option for people with sleep apnea as weight loss can be difficult to achieve and maintain. CPAP works well – but not everyone who needs it is willing to commit to wearing a mask. The good news is, there has been more research done and advances in this area. This has created better cpap machines and masks for sleep apnea patients, giving this smaller and more form fitting masks and machines that are quieter and more effective. There are now cpap machines that can wireless send your sleeping reports to your
What exactly is CPAP? CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and mouth that is attached to a device which blows air into the airways to keep them open at night. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just the right amount to prevent the upper airway tissues form collapsing during sleep. These machines can come with a humidifier which can also have positive impact on the patients sleep. Adding humidification to your therapy is the number one way to increase therapy efficiency and comfort. CPAP humidification works by adding a water chamber between your cpap machine and your cpap mask, adding moisture to the air you breathe.
Like anything that is new it can take time to get used it, the important thing to remember is to stick with it as the results will be noticed. You can always talk with your Doctor or a sleep apnea therapist that can help make sure that you not only have purchased the right products but also are using them correctly.
The good news in all of this is that those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have a variety of treatment options. Whether it is life style changes or through a cpap machine, sleep apnea suffers (and their partners) can get back to have a restful sleep and more energy throughout the day. If you feel that you might suffer from sleep apnea, you can always contact your medical physician, or a sleep therapist. If you want more information sleep apnea, sleep clinics and sleep therapists you can contact us at cpap global and we will help answer any of your questions.
- Harvard Health Publications – Harvard Medical School (02/10/2013)
- British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Assoction – Helping You To Stop Snoring Today
- Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea – webmd.com