Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Causes, Natural Treatments And Cures

sleep apnea snoring

Sleep apnea is really a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing get interrupted during sleep. Each of such interruption can last upto 20, 30 seconds or even a minute in worse cases.

The symptoms may include snoring, breathing pauses or choking noises during sleep. The “apnea” in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds.

Many people consider snoring as a joke or something they feel embarrassed about. But loud snoring — especially when accompanied by daytime fatigue—may be a sign of sleep apnea, a common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep.

Sleep apnea can leave you feeling exhausted during the day, affect your mood and your relationship with your bed partner, and even be dangerous to your health. But there are things you can do to sleep better at night and feel sharper and more energetic during the day. The first step is to overcome any embarrassment you feel about your snoring habit and learn to recognize the general symptoms of sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea briefly interrupts your breathing while you’re asleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.

Since sleep apnea only occurs while one is actually sleeping, though, many people may not be aware of this health risk until a bed partner or roommate complains about their snoring.

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While it can be tempting to make light of your own or someone else’s snoring or to feel self-conscious about your snoring, sleep apnea can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health.

  • Sleep apnea can lead to chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents.
  • It can cause moodiness, irritability, or even lead to depression.
  • Sleep apnea can create serious physical health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver problems, and weight gain.

With treatment, though, you can control the symptoms of sleep apnea, get your sleep back on track, and feel refreshed and alert during the day.

Types of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing you to snore loudly.

Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea

It can actually be a little tough to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most prominent symptoms only occur when you’re asleep. But you can get around this difficulty by asking a bed partner to observe your sleep habits, or by recording yourself during sleep. THe followings are major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud and chronic snoring almost every night
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Waking up at night feeling short of breath
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue, no matter how much time you spend in bed

Other warning signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may also include:

  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Insomnia or nighttime awakenings
  • Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Uncharacteristic moodiness, irritability, or depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Impotence

feeling exhausted and weak
– Snoring and sleep apnea can render you weak and exhausted on waking up and during your daily activity

Is it sleep apnea or normal snoring?

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. So how do you tell the difference between normal snoring and a more serious case of sleep apnea?

The biggest telltale sign is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day.

Record yourself sleeping or ask your sleep partner to keep track of your snoring, noting how loud and frequent it is, and if you’re gasping, choking, or making other unusual sounds.

Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, a snoring problem can get in the way of your bed partner’s rest and affect your own sleep quality and health.

Causes of sleep apnea

While anyone can have sleep apnea, you have a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea if you’re:

  • Overweight people grow extra tissue in the back of their throat
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • People over the age of 50 years
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • High blood pressure

Other physical attributes that may put you at risk for obstructive sleep apnea include a deviated septum and receding chin. Your airway may be blocked or narrowed during sleep simply because your throat muscles tend to relax more than normal.

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Also, allergies or other medical conditions that cause nasal congestion and blockage can also contribute to sleep apnea.

self help treatment for sleep apnea
– Ensuring free nasal passages can control sleep apnea

Natural treatment and cure for sleep apnea

You may successfully be able to treat mild cases of sleep apnea by changing or adjusting your lifestyle. The following self-help strategies and lifestyle adjustment can greatly help to control sleep apnea.

  • Try losing enough weight.
  • Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives, especially before bedtime as they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing.
  • Avoid caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to bed.
  • Maintain regular sleep hours – Apnea episodes also decrease when you get plenty of sleep.
  • Changing sleep positions to improve breathing.
  • Stopping smoking – smoking can increase the swelling in the upper airway, which may worsen – both snoring and apnea.
  • Open your nasal passages. Try to keep your nasal passages open at night using a nasal dilator, saline spray, breathing strips, or a neti pot.
  • Avoiding sleeping on your back.
  • Elevate the head of your bed by four to six inches or elevate your body from the waist up by using a foam wedge. You can also use a special cervical pillow.

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Conclussion

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is frequently 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. Early detection and treatment can help save one from future health hazard.

If your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, or you have tried self-help strategies and lifestyle changes without success, it’s important to see a physician. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and help you find an effective treatment.

Therefore, stop ignoring that warning signs and act now.

Sources:
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-apnea.htm
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/

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Sleep apnea? Except that this condition interrupts breathing while asleep, I would have cared less.

Many health complication nowadays turn me off.

Walks out exhausted.

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I have experienced waking up at night and feeling short of breath. Some mornings I also wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat. I will start to monitor things from now.

This is a good piece for a happy living thanks

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You can always give it a trial.

Jane Silvanus:

Sleep apnea? Except that this condition interrupts breathing while asleep, I would have cared less.

Many health complication nowadays turn me off.

Walks out exhausted.

0 Like Like Quote Report
0 Like Like