Are you getting the best sleep possible? If you are a heavy snorer, wake up with a sore throat, or are waking up in the morning feeling tired, you may need to be evaluated for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that effects over 18 million Americans. If let untreated, sleep apnea can lead to certain health complications. Each year 38,000 Americans die due to problems related to sleep apnea. Luckily there are several treatments such as behavioral therapy, surgery and medical equipment such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP supplies which can help sleep apnea sufferers.
What is Sleep Apnea
About 6.62% of Americans are suffering from sleep apnea, that is 1 in every 15 people. Sleep apnea falls into two categories, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive apnea involves airways being physically obstructed by tissues. Central sleep apnea has to do with disorders in the brain’s sleep centers. The main characteristics of both apneas are periods of a person not breathing at least five times a night. While males and being overweight can make you more likely to have sleep apnea it effects people from all walks of life. Because of interrupted sleep, people of sleep apnea can suffer several issues, such as cognitive problems, feeling fatigued during the day and periods of moodiness.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you are experiencing any of the follow symptoms, you may have sleep apnea:
- Excessively loud snoring
- Feeling tired or fatigued throughout the day
- Waking up during the middle of night with a choking feeling
- Poor sleep
An overnight sleep study is required to accurately diagnose sleep apnea.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Currently there are three main treatments for sleep apnea:
This therapy helps patients avoid behaviors which can lead to sleep apnea episodes such as not drinking alcohol and other sedatives that can effect air passages. Patients might also be advised to change their sleeping positions, since sleep apnea occurs more often in people who sleep on their back.
CPAP supplies and equipment
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines can help sleep apnea sufferers by keeping airways open during the night. Even though buying CPAP supplies, including masks and tubes from medical supply stores can be costly, ranging between $300 to $3,000, it still is considered one of the more inexpensive treatments for sleep apnea.
For those who are not helped by behavioral treatments or medical supplies, there are several surgeries that can help sleep apnea sufferers, such as tonsillectomies.
If you feel that your sleep is being interrupted or if you experience bouts of sleep paralysis and breathlessness, consult your physician for an evaluation.