Sleep Apnea Is a Serious Condition That Needs Treatment

Cpap machine effectiveness

If you snore at night, it could be something more serious: sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke. There are a number of things you can do to help with sleep apnea, including losing weight and using a sleep apnea machine.

Sleep apnea is more than just excessive snoring. People with sleep apnea actually stop breathing for short periods of time while they are sleeping. This disrupts your sleep because you are constantly alternating between light and deep sleep, and it leads to daytime sleepiness and a feeling of being tired all the time. However, sleep apnea has much more serious consequences. It can increase your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, including heart attacks, strokes and arrhythmias, and also can worsen medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In fact, people with untreated sleep apnea are three times as likely to have heart disease as people without sleep apnea.

Many people do not realize they have sleep apnea because the symptoms occur when they are sleeping. However, it is estimated that 18 million people just in the U.S. have the condition. Risk factors include obesity and asthma. People with asthma are 40% more likely to have sleep apnea. Men also are about twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea.

The first treatment for sleep apnea is weight loss. Most people can relieve their sleep apnea symptoms by losing weight, but that will not work for everyone. Other treatments include the removal of tonsils and adenoids, especially if they are enlarged, and the use of sleep apnea machines.

Sleep apnea machines, also called continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machines, are machines that help improve your breathing while you are sleeping. A CPAP machine works by increasing the air pressure in your throat to help keep your airway open. CPAP machines work as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common form of the condition. Many people do not like to use a CPAP machine because of the need to wear a CPAP mask, so the treatment can have varying levels of effectiveness.

The only way to treat sleep apnea is to find out for sure you have it. If you don’t have a spouse or other family member who can monitor your sleep, you may need to take a home sleep test or do a sleep test in a clinic. Once you get a diagnosis, you can work on treating the condition.

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