Sleep Disorder – The Night Phantom

Sleep Disorder – The Night Phantom

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Sleep apnea is a condition when you stop breathing for a short interval repeatedly during sleep. Apnea means “Without Breath” in Greek; the word aptly describes the condition of patients suffering from sleep apnea. You may have breathing difficulty while sleeping, which may break your sleep also. Sleep apnea may cause high blood pressure, chances of stroke, impotence etc. This may seem a simple snoring disease, but it can be extremely harmful and should never be neglected.

Symptoms of sleep apnea:

These are some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea, though they may vary from person to person:

• Tendency to sleep more during the day.
• Interrupted snoring with periods of improper breathing.
• A small or recessed jaw.
• Obesity.
• A very tired feeling in the morning.
• Gasping or snoring respirations in the night.
• Unexplained right side heart or respiratory failure.
• Memory or concentration problems.
• Excessive snoring at night.

Types of apnea:

There are basically three types of apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common, with 9 out of 10 cases of apnea coming under this category. It is often incorrectly called Pickwick Syndrome. Here, repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction occur during sleep, which is generally associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. The obstruction may be excess tissue in the airway, large tonsils, or a large tongue. Another site of obstruction can be the nasal passages.

Central sleep apnea: This is not very common. This is related to the function of the central nervous system. The muscles that you use to breathe don’t get a clear signal from the brain, thus causing this problem. Either the brain doesn’t send the signal, or the signal gets interrupted.

Mixed apnea: This is a combination of central and obstructive apnea. The most affected people are infants or young children, who have abnormal control of breathing. Mixed apnea may occur when a child is awake or asleep.

Snoring is another symptom of sleep apnea. It is the loud, rough rattling noise that you make while sleeping, caused when the soft palate and uvula vibrates. Snoring is believed to occur in anywhere from 30% of women to over 40% of men. When snoring is interrupted by frequent episodes of totally obstructed breathing, it is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Treatments:

Sleep apnea can be cured by the following methods:

• Losing weight.
• Cutting down on alcohol.
• Using Nasal Dilator strips.
• Using dental appliances to prevent tongue from falling back.
• Surgery – Tracheostomy, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, Mandibular Myotomy, Laser Assisted Uvuloplasty, Laup Radio Frequency (RF) Procedure or Somnoplasty.
• Palatoplasty – stiffening of the palate using surgery or injection.
• Using special pillows or devices to keep the airway open during sleep.
• Using a CPAP mask.
• Adjust your sleeping position, which might alleviate snoring.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

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If you have noticed a pattern of heavy snoring, shortness of breath or a choking sensation during the night, then you may have sleep apnea. Most people thing that snoring is just snoring, but it can actually be a warning sign of something much more serious. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that could lead to heart problems, an increased likelihood of having a stroke or other ailment. If not treated properly, the sufferer could clearly face serious health problems.

In order to properly diagnose sleep apnea, a physician will ask a series of questions and possibly order a sleep study. This is what happens when a potential sleep apnea victim visit’s a sleep center for one night. During that night, they are hooked up to various monitoring devices, which keeps a close watch on their sleeping patterns, breathing and snoring. The physician carefully reviews the results and either makes a positive diagnosis for sleep apnea or informs the patient that he/she tested negative for the disorder.

It is very important that sleep apnea be diagnosed as early as possible. A spouse may be your best source of information for early warning signs, such as heavy snoring, pauses in breathing, etc. The next step will be patient awareness, which may entail the patient realizing that he/she is exhausted during the day, unable to concentrate on normal activities and may have personality changes. These are due to lack of sleep, which is what happens when a sleep apnea sufferer suddenly awakens with difficulty breathing. A sleep apnea sufferer will completely stop breathing on more than one occasion throughout the night, which may cause them to wake up frequently. Even if the do not recall what happened, they are not receiving a quality night’s sleep.

Additional warning signs, but not necessarily symptoms, include being overweight or obese, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, allergies, constantly sleeping on the back, etc. These may be a few of the factors that lead up to sleep apnea and, as a result, often have a hand in it’s prevention. By losing weight, giving up cigarettes and alcohol, ridding the home of allergens and sleeping on the side, sleep apnea may soon be a thing of the past.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as, or in place of, professional medical advice. Before beginning any treatment for snoring, please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and remedy.

How To Fix Your Snoring Problem

How To Fix Your Snoring Problem

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If you have a snoring problem, you may be the last to realize it.
Your spouse will likely be the first and may even be quick to let you know of this nighttime nuisance. It is important to realize that a snoring problem may be nothing more than an inconvenience but, then again, it may be a serious condition known as sleep apnea. Only a physician can properly diagnose sleep apnea and, in the meantime, there are a number of ways to work on fixing your snoring problem at home.

The first step to fixing your snoring problem is to try sleeping on your side instead of your back. Research shows that individuals who sleep on their back are much more likely to snore than those who do not. If you find it difficult to remain on your side during the night, try placing a large body pillow next to you. This may help to resist your movement if you try to roll back over during the night.

While it may be difficult to realize what is causing a snoring problem at first, experts have shown that obesity is among the leading causes. Most people do not realize this because it seems like an unrealistic link but, nonetheless, it has been proven. Therefore, a well-balanced diet and exercise program may help to correct your snoring problem while promoting a healthier lifestyle overall.

Snoring problems may also be directly linked to allergies. Why? Because allergy sufferers may also experience breathing difficulties, which is a factor believed to cause snoring. By ridding your home of airborne allergens, such as cigarette smoke, pet hair and dust, you may be eliminating your snoring problem.

Many individuals turn to anti-snoring devices to correct their snoring problems. This is particularly useful if the device has been recommended by doctors. Such is the case with the Sleep Genie, which was developed by Odyssey Direct Solutions. Manufactured using a comfortable nylon and lycra blend, the Sleep Genie supports the jaw while helping the mouth to remain closed during the night. Individuals who sleep with their mouth open find it easier to snore, which is why the Sleep Genie may prove helpful in correcting your snoring problem.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as, or in place of, professional medical advice. Before beginning any treatment for snoring, please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and remedy.

Alleviate Back Pain for Restful Sleep

Alleviate Back Pain for Restful Sleep

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Although the common wisdom is that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, many of us don’t get the quantity or the quality of sleep we need. Our hectic lifestyles and the 24-7-365 availability of distractions such as cable television and the Internet can cause us to cut back on the seven to nine hours of sleep that experts recommend we get each night. But even if we shoot for an adequate quantity of sleep, back pain and other problems can prevent us from getting the quality of sleep we need.
When lower back pain, neck pain, snoring, or a sleep disorder prevents us from getting the sleep we need, we accumulate what experts term a “sleep debt.” One or two nights of restless or inadequate sleep won’t harm us, but a pattern of sleep disruptions can have serious repercussions on our health, ranging from mental fuzziness and mood swings to cessations of breathing and even death. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road. “
When back pain or neck pain causes sleep disruptions, it may be time to invest in a new mattress. Mattresses that use natural fibers, such as cotton, tend to harden over time, while box springs can begin to sag. A mattress that has outlived its usefulness forces you to sleep in positions that cause or exacerbate lower back pain and neck pain. While a new mattress set is an investment, it is one that will repay you a hundredfold in the form of mental alertness and physical energy that comes from getting restful sleep.
Sleep culprits like neck pain and snoring can often be alleviated with a new pillow. Special posture pillows are available that provide back and neck support, and that can raise your head enough to reduce snoring. A sleep posture pillow may take a period of adjustment, since your body will need to get used to a new position, but the positive effects should kick in within two to three weeks.
Keep in mind that severe snoring can sometimes be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where the tissues at the back of the throat block the airway. This causes the person with sleep apnea to stop breathing for a moment and then awaken. Sleep apnea can cause dozens of awakenings each hour, and can be a life-threatening condition. The bed partner of a person with sleep apnea is often the first to know something is wrong, since he or she can hear the person snoring and hear pauses in breathing, usually followed by a snort or a loud snore.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s important to have the condition properly diagnosed through a sleep study conducted overnight in a sleep lab.
Treatment is most often the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that pushes air through the throat and into the lungs during sleep. Like a sleep posture pillow, a CPAP machine takes some getting used to. But it’s a minor adjustment compared with the benefits of restful sleep.