In this article about How To Avoid Sleep Apnea – It’s Conceivably Your Diet, you will see how important diet and exercise are to avoid Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea can be life threatening in serious cases but even in mild cases can affect your life dramatically, in ways that you might never think of.
What is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is where the airway is blocked and the sufferer stops breathing regularly every hour for a few seconds, some times 30 times and hour and more. This means lack of deep sleep and poor oxygen intake.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the more prevalent type of sleep apnea, caused by a blocked airway usually when the soft tissue in the throat collapses while the sufferer sleeps
- Central Sleep Apnea: In this instance, the airway is not blocked, but the signal to the muscles to breath is not sent by the brain, due to instability in the respiratory control center.
In this article, we will be dealing with OSA
Who Is At Risk
Below is a list of categories of people that are most at risk, but this does not mean that if you do not fall into these categories that you cannot develop OSA:
- Being male – Males make up the largest portion of OSA sufferers.
- Being overweight is considered a large contributing factor in OSA
- Being over age 40 – this generally means that your activity levels are lower, you pick up weight, you are less fit than you were when you were younger. All of these contribute to your OSA risk
- Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
- Having large tonsils or large tongue, or a small jaw bone all play a part in your risk factor
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
Your Weight Matters With Obesity And Sleep Apnea
Does Weight Gain Lead to Sleep Apnea
While not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight nor every one that is over weight have sleep apnea, gaining those extra pounds does increase the risk of your developing the disorder. The reason for this is that weight gain can cause fat to accumulate in the neck area, obstructing breathing and leading to sleep apnea.
This is the reason that Doctors consider weight loss as one of the first lifestyle remedies when treating OSA. Just losing 10% of your body weight can really improve your OSA condition or even get rid of sleep apnea completely.
How Sleep Apnea Can Cause Weight Gain
Having sleep apnea can contribute to gaining weight, and if you have severe OSA, you have a greater chance of picking up more weight compared to those with a milder OSA condition. The production of hormones related to appetite can also be influenced by the poor quality of sleep.
When you have not had enough sleep you tend to suffer from daytime sleepiness, thus decreasing physical activity. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep would also make it difficult for people with OSA to lose weight.
What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
Many people tend not to take sleep apnea seriously, I mean you are losing a bit of sleep right? If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure,
- irregular heart beats,
- heart attacks
- Increasing ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities such as:
As a OSA sufferer, I can attest to the fact that I can feel the difference between a nights sleep with CPAP and the Night’s sleep without CPAP. There is a definite drop in performance and concentration without the CPAP and you feel as though you have not slept.
The Next Step
If you snore, stop breathing (ask your spouse because you probably won’t know) or if you’re overweight or obese and think you may have sleep apnea, Visit Your Doctor. Your doctor will probably refer you to a sleep clinic for a sleep study. The clinic will usually hook you up to a plethora of cables for a night (you usually sleep over) and they then go and analyze your data.
The results can be quite shocking. You might not believe how many times you stop breathing every hour, thus never having a deep sleep which is so necessary. I was shocked to see that I woke up 32 times an hour, that is every 112.5 seconds. Did this contribute to all my ailments like diabetes?
There are Other methods of treating sleep apnea which include:
- dental appliances which reposition the lower jaw and tongue
- upper airway surgery to remove tissue in the airway
- nasal expiratory positive airway pressure where a disposable valve covers the nostrils
- treatment using hypoglossal nerve stimulation where a stimulator is implanted in the patient’s chest with leads connected to the hypoglossal nerve that controls tongue movement as well as to a breathing sensor. The sensor monitors breathing patterns during sleep and stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to move the tongue to maintain an open airway.
What To Avoid
- Lose Weight – this is usually the Doctor’s first recommendation as most OSA sufferers are over weight. your can cure your OSA with weight loss, the CPAP only treats the symptoms!
- Avoid Alcohol – this one often meets the most resistance but it relaxes the muscles in the upper airway relax increasing the chance of OSA
- Abandon Smoking – another biggy. Smoking increases swelling in the upper airway, worsening the snoring and apnea.
- Don’t sleep on your back – Sleeping on your back tends to worsen both the snoring and the OSA.
- Don’t take sedatives – they do much the same as the alcohol.
There are four things that I find help me, and they are what my Doctor always reminds me of:
- Diet – no, not go on diet but a lifestyle change to eat right, lose weight and improve your lifestyle.
- Exercise – This burns up the energy consumed and improves your HDL levels.
- Exercise – This burns up more energy and improves your HDL level some more ????
- Exercise – This burns up even more energy and improves your HDL Levels even more ????
If you are always tired during the day, have trouble remembering things and/or lead a sedentary lifestyle, or if your spouse complains of your snoring, you should consider a visit to your doctor to be referred for a sleep study. OSA is not a laughing matter and you should not lose sleep because of it as it can have a profound effect on your life, both at work and at home.
Get it checked, but even if it is negative, watch your lifestyle now and avoid OSA as you get older. If you consider all the health issues it can cause, don’t wait until you have it to treat it – prevent it now!
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