Sleeping Apnea

Sleeping apnea is a very common medical condition and is believed to be as common in adults as diabetes. According to the National Institute of Health more than twelve million American men and women are affected in varying degrees by sleep apnea. Although sleep apnea is more common in men who are middle aged (forty and over) and overweight, it can also strike women and children although children are the least likely to develop it.

Sleep apnea is a progressive medical condition. Meaning that if left untreated it can get worse as a person ages. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that cannot be brushed aside as a nuisance and instead often requires therapeutic and medical intervention.

Diagnosis

In order to learn to live with sleeping apnea a proper diagnosis is a necessity. Your doctor or healthcare provider can determine by way of a sleep-recording test known as a polysomnogram (PSG) what form of sleep apnea you have, what is causing it and whether you are suffering from a case of mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea. Making a concentrated effort to follow the doctors orders every step of the way can make a tremendous difference in learning to live with your medical condition.

You may need to try a variety of treatments to find the one that works best for your specific condition. Some people try one for a while and then move on to others to see if they bring more relief. The most effective treatment for a person is often dependent on how many symptoms they suffer from and how severe each symptom is.

Treatment

Sleep apnea treatment can help reduce or in some cases completely do away with snoring, which is often the “hallmark” of this sleep disorder. This will allow you to suffer less apneic events through the night and will guarantee a more relaxing and restful nights sleep. Treatment can also benefit ones waking hours, as a person is less likely to suffer from excessive fatigue, memory loss, irritability or problems with concentrating on tasks.

In this way work situations as well as family relations can be improved. A restful person is a much happier person than a person who consistently goes without a decent nights sleep.

Lifestyle Changes

Learning to live with sleeping apnea will involve making the necessary changes in one life to decrease the chance that the disorder will get worse. These lifestyle alterations could include quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol and stopping the consumption of any alcoholic beverages four hours before bedtime, avoiding the use of sleeping pills or sedatives and adjusting ones sleeping habits from sleeping on ones back to sleeping on the side.

People with moderate to severe sleep apnea may need to get used to wearing a nose mask known as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) at night in order to improve their level of breathing and to keep the throat as open and clear as possible. People with the severest form of sleep apnea may need to wear a nose mask that is connected to a Bi-level machine (Bi-Pap). This machine blows air into the nose but at two different levels of pressure. Upon inhalation of air the pressure is set higher and upon exhaling of air it is set lower.