Health Mag

"From bad to worse"     "If those measures don’t help"  

The loss of sleep and its day time consequences - such as drowsiness and slow reaction time when driving- are sufficient reasons to seek treatment. But in addition, research has linked apnea to a broad range of cardiovascular problems, including hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, arrhythmias, and heart failure, as well as Type 2 diabetes, Stopping breathing for short periods during the night can there are many other ways in which apnea may damage blood vessels and the rest of the cardiovascular system. New research, for instance, has linked apnea to chronic inflammation, which is associated with heart disease. Since many features of sleep apnea overlap with those of the so-called metabolic syndrome (notable obesity, hypertension, and elevated blood sugar). Some researchers believe that apnea should be include as a part of the syndrome.

» You’re male: Apnea is more common in men than women.
» You’re stacking on extra pounds: Overweight and age increase the risk, since these can lead to excessive relaxation of muscles at the back of the throat.
» You have a thick neck: this physical characteristic seems to make it mire likely that the airway will collapse during sleep.
» You saw logs in double digit decibels: Though not everyone who snores ad apnea, loud snorers are most likely to have it.
» You have same bad habits Heavy drinking and use if sedatives can also promote apnea.


Your doctor may prescribe CPAP, which stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” This air pump attached to a mask or nasal tube is effective at maintaining a flow of air while you sleep. Beside being expensive, it is cumbersome and noisy, and many people find it causes nasal congestion and claustrophobia, and thus stop using it.

There are also custom-made mandibular advancement devices (made by dentists who specialize in apnea) that pull the tongue and jaw forward while you sleep. They are expensive, however, and a recent review found they are not as effective as CPAP.

Surgery should be considered only as a last resort. The standard procedure widens the airway and/or corrects other physical problems contributing to apnea. This is major, painful surgery, can have adverse effects, and doesn’t help everyone. There are also less invasive options, notably laser surgery, as well as the Pillar procedure, in which three tiny inserts are implanted into the soft palate in the back of the mouth. But since Pillar is relatively new, there are questions about its long-term safety and effectiveness.


Do’s and don’ts        

If you aren’t sleeping well and snore loudly, or if you are tried all the time despite what seems to be adequate sleep, talk to your doctor about apnea- particularly if you have hypertension and/or are overweight, you may need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist, who will refer you to a sleep specialist. Most major Indian hospitals have a sleep clinic these days, Spending the night in such a facility for special testing is the best way to get sleep apnea diagnosed. There is also a home testing device called the Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES), which can be attached to your forehead to monitor your snoring, blood oxygen, pulse, head position, and other factors, Available only by prescription, the results have to be interpreted by the company that makes it.

If you have been diagnosed with apnea, do it-yourself therapies such as the following should help, and may even resolve the problem. These steps can also help with regular snoring.

  » If you’re overweight, lose weight. Even a 10% loss can help.
  » Limit or avoid alcohol, especially in the evening.
  » Avoid sedatives (tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and some anti-histamines).
  » Avoid heavy meals in the evening.
  » If you smoke, stop.
  » Elevate the head of your bed with a couple or thick books or bricks under the legs. (Don’t use a large pillow that forces your neck to bend.)
  » Sleep on your side, not n your back. This helps keep your tongue from falling back and obstructing the airway. Attaching a tennis ball to the back of a pajama top is an old trick to help keep you off your back.
  » You can try one of the inexpensive nonprescription devices that reposition the lower jaw as you sleep. A little like the mouthpieces worn by football players, these “mandibular advancement devices” can cause mouth and jaw discomfort, however, and don’t work for everyone. Consult your doctor first.



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