Many people still think that snoring at night is just a simple sleep disorder, but no it is not. Sometimes snoring comes with deadly sleep disorders and this case, snoring can be an evident sign of sleep apnea- a sleep disorder characterized by non-uniformed breathing patterns. If your snoring is loud and accompanied by repeated stoppages in your breathing patterns, chances are you are suffering from a given sleep disorder, sleep apnea and you need to get medical attention before the condition degenerates to other hazardous medical conditions. Early diagnosis can help avert so many risks that come in handy with sleep apnea. For the reason, here is what you need to know about sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is not insomnia
Insomnia is characterized by general lack of sleep or staying awake for the whole or most of the night, while sleep apnea is characterized by lack of smooth and continuous sleep cycle due to breathing stoppages at night.
Insomnia can be a medical condition on its own or be a sign of an existing medical condition in an individual. As health problem, insomnia is divided into three broad categories depending on how long it takes. For instance, insomnia can be either acute, transient, or chronic if it last for more than one month.
With sleep apnea, the patient manages to sleep, but throughout the night, the snores loudly, and his or her sleeping pattern is characterized by numerous stoppages due breathing stoppages, which last between ten to twenty seconds. In addition, if sleep apnea is not treated for some time, it can lead to a variety of medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.
In both cases, insomnia and sleep apnea are treatable. Meaning, once you suspect that you are suffering from either of the problems, you can seek medication before the condition worsens.
What causes sleep apnea?
As a physical problem, sleep apnea is caused by physical medical conditions. Majorly, it affects elderly people who lack tone muscles, alcoholics and people addicted to sedatives, as well obese people with plenty of soft tissues.
It shortens the patient’s breathing cycles, depriving him or her of oxygen. As the problem manifests itself during a peaceful sleep, constant lack of oxygen leads to restlessness at night. The patient wakes up from the seemingly cool sleep to breathe again. In addition, the patient sleeps a lot during the day to compensate for the lack of enough hours of sleep during the night. He or she also shows signs withdrawal and lack of concentration throughout the day.
As mentioned before, sleep apnea degenerates to other serious medical conditions if left untreated for some time. Recent research shows that people with obstructive sleep apnea are always at the highest risk of suffering other medical conditions such as bone thinning or osteoporosis, especially old men and women. Medical reports show that increased spells of obstructive sleep apnea can result into bone fractures, heart attacks, and even death if the condition gets to its extreme ends. The problem can also lead to increased cost of medication if left to develop into osteoporosis.
Diagnosis and remedies for sleep apnea
Professionally, sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosable and treatable. In hospitals, sleep apnea can be treated using non-surgical procedures. Therefore, when you recognize any of the symptoms that may show the onset of sleep apnea, it is good that you get immediate medical help for diagnosis and treatment.
Otherwise, there are some natural ways of managing and controlling obstructive sleep apnea. For instance, patients with the condition are advised to lead healthy lifestyles. By healthy lifestyles, I mean the following.
1. Do plenty of weight loss exercises to help in reducing weight and opening up your chest cavity.
2. Eat healthy food and drinks. Try as much as you can to avoid junk foods, alcoholic drinks and sedatives, they are major causes of sleep apnea.
3. Raise your head a little bit higher when sleeping. For instance, use an extra pillow if possible. It will help prevent relaxation of throat muscles and blockage of airways.
4. Ensure a healthy sleeping pattern and gargle with salt water, as it will help shrink your tonsils and open up more room in the airways.
But you must remember that seeking professional help for obstructive sleep apnea is the only sure remedy for the condition.