What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring accompanied by daytime fatigue and sleepiness may be signs of sleep apnea, a rather common yet serious sleeping disorder that impacts one’s breathing and affects 1 out of every 15 or roughly 18 million American adults. Sleep apnea is a sleep-related disorder that is characterized by multiple interruptions in a person’s breathing during sleep. These interruptions may last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur anywhere from 5 to over 100 times an hour. This lack of oxygen can jolt you awake when having an episode although it’s usually so brief that you won’t remember it.

Causes and Risk Factors

The risk factors and cause of Sleep Apnea often vary based on the type of disorder you have (see above). However, there are 6 causes and risk factors that are common to all sleep apnea sufferers including the following:

  • Anatomical Differences – physical attributes such as a deviated septum, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, high tongue position, long, soft palate, receding or small jaw, and small upper airway can all contribute to the risk of sleep apnea
  • Gender – although sleep apnea is more common among men, the frequency of it in women typically increases after menopause
  • Neck Circumference – if it’s more than 17” in men and more than 16” in women, the risk of sleep apnea is higher
  • Older Age – although sleep apnea can occur in all age groups, it becomes more common as you get older, typically peaking when a person is in their 50’s and 60’s
  • Smoking – if you smoke, the risk of developing sleep apnea is 3 times greater than that of a non-smoker
  • Weight – overweight individuals are at greater risk of developing sleep apnea; the risk is even greater among obese individuals

Other factors that can contribute to the risk of developing sleep apnea include medical conditions that cause nasal blockage and congestion.

Signs and Symptoms

Trying to identify sleep apnea by yourself can be difficult since the signs and symptoms only occur during sleep. However, if you have a bed partner, it won’t be as difficult to do so. The primary symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • choking, gasping, or snorting during sleep
  • daytime fatigue and sleepiness regardless of how much you slept the night before
  • frequent loud snoring

Secondary symptoms often include:

  • dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
  • frequent trips to the restroom throughout the night
  • insomnia, nightmares, or restless sleep
  • morning headaches
  • waking up and feeling short of breath

All of these warning signs and symptoms should not be ignored and warrants doctor’s or sleep specialist’s attention.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Although most sleep apnea treatments require invasive measures such as CPAP and other breathing machines or surgical procedures, some home remedies and lifestyle changes may provide temporary solutions for snoring such as:

  • anti-snoring sprays
  • avoiding alcohol in the evening
  • changing your sleeping position
  • maintaining a healthier weight
  • quitting smoking
  • trying Yoga exercises
  • using a humidifier or neti pot

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a major contributor to poor sleeping quality and can lead to a number of physical and psychological health problems such as anxiety and depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and stroke. Fortunately, this disorder is treatable. Some of the more common sleep apnea treatments include:

BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machines:

These machines help to push air into your respiratory system when you have trouble breathing. You are required to don a mask or nasal plugs which are directly connected to the ventilator. As it pushes in pressurized air into the lungs, it is termed as positive pressure ventilation as your lungs are assisted with the high air pressure.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, or VPAP (variable positive airway pressure) machines:

Usually, a doctor advices snorer to use CPAP to alleviate snoring and sleep apnea. This machine provides optimized air pressure though a well-fitted mask on your face, to ensure that the upper airways remain open. This helps to stop snoring and protects against sleep apnea.

MAD’s or mandibular advancement devices (mouthguards or oral appliances):

MADs looks like a mouth guard and is one of the popular mouth devices to stop snoring. It comes with metal hinges and is fitted over the lower and upper dental arches. It helps to ease forward the lower jaw. It keeps the mouth closed while you sleep and ensures that the tongue does not protrude when you sleep.

Radiofrequency ablation, and Septoplasty®:

To stop snoring, radiofrequency ablation uses heat to shrink the soft palate tissue to help you sleep better. The loose tissue is tightened so that it does not vibrate when you inhale and exhale. While Septoplasty® is an invasive surgical procedure that straightens the cartilage and bone that divides the septum or the space between the nostrils.

Surgery such as adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy, laser-assisted uvulapalatoplasty:

There are many causes due to which children and young adults snore. Whether it is removal of adenoids or swollen tonsils, it narrows the airways. By removing these, children or young adults are able to breathe better. Laser-assisted uvulapalatoplasty, laser is used to reshape or remove parts of the uvula located at the back of the mouth. It opens the air passages and helps you stop snoring.

UAS or upper airway stimulation:

The UAS device sends out electrical impulses to the hypoglossal nerve which is in the tongue. The electrical impulses stimulate the nerve and makes sure that the tongue goes forward instead of falling into the throat. If the tongue falls into the back, it blocks the air passages and causes snoring. UAS helps stop snoring.

While the home remedies and lifestyle changes mentioned in the prior section can reduce sleep apnea symptoms, prescription medicines and surgical procedures may be necessary to treat the condition.

A Word About Asonor Anti-snoring Nasal Spray and Solution

Although it is not recognized as a cure for sleep apnea, Asonor Anti snoring Nasal Spray and Solution can help reduce the primary symptom of sleep apnea – habitual, loud snoring. This miracle spray solution developed by TannerMedico has been medically tested and clinically proven to be effective in 75% cases studied. To learn more about this highly effective anti-snoring solution, visit the Asonor website or send us an e-mail by clicking here. To suffer no more, try Asonor.