What is Obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep is something that you not only require for survival and good health, you also look forward to it at the end of a long day. But time and again, you wake up feeling tired and groggy. You might not be getting good sleep and suffering from a sleep disorder. One of the commonest ones of those is obstructive sleep apnea. 

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. It is when something blocks part or all of your upper airway while you are sleeping. Your diaphragm and chest muscles must work harder to open your airway and pull air into the lungs. Your breath can become very shallow, otherwise, you may even stop breathing briefly. You always start to breathe again with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. Sometimes, one can sit up as well, but most likely won’t know that it is happening. The condition lessens the flow of oxygen to your organs and causes uneven heart rhythms.

Obstructive sleep disorder Symptoms

Common obstructive sleep disorder warning signs include:

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth or pharyngitis after waking up
  • Headaches
  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or crankiness
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Problems with sex, low libido
  • Snoring
  • Waking up suddenly and feeling like gasping or choking
  • Trouble getting up from sleep
  • Waking up often in the night to urinate
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

If you share the same bed with someone, they will probably notice your sleep apnea before you. 

Causes

Obstructive apnea occurs when the muscles within the back of your throat relax an excessive amount to not permit normal breathing. These muscles support structures including the rear of the roof of your mouth (soft palate), the triangular piece of tissue hanging from your soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, and finally, the tongue. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you try to breathe in and breathing could also be inadequate for 10 seconds or longer. This could lower the extent of oxygen in your blood and cause a buildup of CO2.

Your brain senses this impaired breathing and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is typically so brief that you just don’t recollect it when you wake up. You can awaken with shortness of breath that corrects itself quickly, within one or two deep breaths. You will make a snorting, choking, or gasping sound.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea. However, certain factors put you at increased risk, including:

  • Excess weight- Most but not all people with an obstructive sleep disorder are overweight. Fat deposits around the upper airway may obstruct breathing. Medical conditions that are related to obesity, like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome, can also cause obstructive apnea. However, not everyone with obstructive apnea is overweight and the other way around. Thin people can develop the disorder, too.
  • Narrowed airway- One can inherit naturally narrow airways. Or your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which may block your airway.
  • High pressure (hypertension)- Obstructive sleep disorder is comparatively common in people with hypertension.
  • Chronic nasal congestion- Obstructive apnea occurs twice as often in those that have consistent nasal congestion at nighttime, irrespective of the cause. This might result in narrowed airways.
  • Smoking- Folks that smoke are more likely to get obstructive apnea.
  • Diabetes- Obstructive sleep disorder could also be more common in people with diabetes.
  • A case history of apnea- If you have members of the family with obstructive apnea, you will be at increased risk.
  • Asthma- Research has found an association between asthma and the risk of obstructive apnea.

Treatment

The goal for the treatment of apnea is to get assurance that the airflow isn’t obstructed during sleep. Treatment methods include:

Weight Loss

Weight loss gives excellent relief from the symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea. 

Nasal Decongestants

Nasal decongestants are more likely to be effective in mild obstruction. They will help relieve snoring.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the first line of treatment for an obstructive sleep disorder. CPAP is run through a facemask that’s worn at midnight. The facemask gently delivers positive airflow to have the airways open in the snooze hours. The positive airflow props the airways open. CPAP may be a highly effective treatment for the sleep disorder. A dental device can also be necessary to have the lower jaw of the mouth positioned forward.

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP or BPAP)

Bilevel positive airway pressure machines are used for the treatment of OSA if CPAP therapy isn’t effective. BiPAP machines have settings, high and low, that reciprocate to your breathing. This suggests the pressure changes during inhaling versus exhaling.

Positional Therapy

Since sleeping on the rear (supine position) can make the apnea worse for a few people, positional therapy is employed to assist those with obstructive sleep disorder learn to sleep in other positions. Positional therapy and also the use of CPAP may be discussed with an expert at a sleep center.

Surgery

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) involves the removal of additional tissues from the rear of the throat. UPPP is the commonest style of surgery for OSA, and it helps relieve snoring. However, this surgery hasn’t been proven to totally eliminate sleep disorders, and it can have complications.

Tracheostomy may be done as a procedure as a last resort. Tracheostomy punctures a gap within the windpipe that bypasses the obstruction within the throat.

Good sleeping habits

Remember, good sleep hygiene is the beginning of managing a sleep disorder.

  • Maintain an everyday bedtime and waking time. 
  • Avoid taking naps during the day.
  • Alcohol can interfere with sleep. Avoid alcohol within three to four hours of bedtime. 
  • Caffeine and nicotine can interfere with sleep. 
  • Many common medicines can cause excessive sleepiness or insomnia. Ask your doctor which medicines to avoid if you are sleepless. 

The bedroom environment is also overlooked as a reason for sleep disturbance. A comfortable mattress that suits your body’s needs, some comfortable soft pillows, blackout curtains for windows so that no light seeps in during early mornings- these are some requirements to make your bedroom comfortable. You can get all these products on www.livpuresleep.com. The website is full of the best products from the brand- different kinds of mattresses to suit all your needs, a variety of pillows, absolutely luxurious and comfortable Egyptian cotton bedsheets, and other bed and linen products for your home. Let us help you sleep better! 

Conclusion

You should always check with your doctor if you are experiencing continued daytime drowsiness or consistently having problems sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea has many various treatment options that may make symptoms manageable. Your doctor will create a treatment plan that mixes lifestyle changes and other therapies. And you should do all this in addition to healthy sleep hygiene changes as well. 

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