Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea!!!

Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have become an increasingly important health concern in the United States. Associated with obesity, depression, and other health concerns, sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked by throat tissue or not activated properly by the brain during sleep. Unfortunately, many of those who suffer from this condition have not received an official diagnosis and are therefore not pursuing the treatment they need.



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Sleep apnea affects an estimated nine percent of women and 24 percent of men. Although this disorder is treatable and preventable, at least 80 percent of those with moderate to severe sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed. This is dangerous because untreated sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure, stroke, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and other cardiovascular complications, in addition to making accidents more likely.

Because of the dangerous consequences of untreated sleep apnea, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is essential for those with this condition. Studies have determined that patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea have considerably higher overall medical costs that correlate with the severity of their sleep-disordered breathing. Other studies indicate that undiagnosed sleep apnea may cause systemic hypertension in middle and older-aged men especially. Furthermore, researchers estimate that estimate that untreated sleep apnea creates approximately $3.4 billion in additional medical costs in the United States.

If you are male, over the age of 40, or overweight, you are at an even higher risk level for developing sleep apnea. Additionally, if any of your family members have chronic sleep disorders, you are more likely to experience one as well. If you are experience trouble sleeping on a regular basis, it is very important that you see your doctor to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea and to consider the solutions that would work best for you.

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The Different Contributors to Snoring And Causes of Snoring

Snoring can be uncomfortable for both the snorer and those around them. Multiple factors contribute to your risk of developing snoring, and some of these factors are more serious than others. By making lifestyle adjustments, however, you can decrease your risk and your snoring symptoms significantly.



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Generally, snoring is the result of airflow obstruction at the back of the mouth and nose. This obstruction is from the airway narrowing because of poor sleep posture, throat-tissue abnormalities, or clogged nasal passages. Preexisting medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea can cause this obstruction and lead to potentially fatal breathing complications.

Sleep posture is a common cause of snoring. Sleeping flat on your back, for example, makes your throat tissue relax. The tongue, uvula, and soft palate can strike against each other during breathing if you sleep on your back, making snoring much more likely. Additionally, issues with mouth anatomy can also prompt snoring. For example, some people (usually men) are born with unusually narrow airways. If you have a long soft palate, enlarged adenoids, or big tonsils, this can reduce the space in your airway and cause snoring. Similarly, structural defects in your nasal airway can also create snoring, such as a deviated septum or chronic congestion.

Being overweight is another major contributor to snoring. People who are overweight often have excess throat tissue that narrows their airways. Poor muscle tone in the neck and throat is also a concern in overweight individuals, as this can further impair breathing and make snoring more likely.

Alcohol consumption may also cause snoring, especially right before sleeping. This is because alcohol relaxes muscle tone in the throat and decreases your body’s natural defenses against airway obstructions. Additionally, tobacco usage and certain medications may also increase muscle relaxation and contribute to snoring. If you snore, see your doctor to ascertain what may be causing your condition and to determine the best course of treatment. He or she may encourage you to make lifestyle treatments like adjusting sleep posture and losing weight to alleviate your snoring.

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The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Over 100 million people suffer from sleep apnea worldwide. Of these individuals, approximately 80% are currently undiagnosed and are at risk for extensive health complications. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that involves repeatedly paused breathing. Those who have sleep apnea often snore loudly and feel exhausted even after a full night’s sleep.



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An estimated one in 25 middle-aged men and one in 50 middle-aged women have sleep apnea. Ethnic groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop sleep apnea than are Caucasians. This condition occurs in two primary forms. In central sleep apnea, the brain does not send appropriate signals to the muscles responsible for breathing. In obstructive sleep apnea, however, the throat muscles relax to the point of hindering airflow. This latter form of sleep apnea is the more common type, affecting middle-aged males predominantly.

Sleep apnea involves several primary symptoms, which may be noticed by the patient or by their sleep partner, roommate, or other household members. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are often aware of symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, memory and concentration difficulties, headaches, frequent urination during the night, and sweating and chest pain during sleep. Other symptoms are more obvious to your sleep partner and others; these include loud snoring, restless tossing and turning during sleep, nighttime choking or gasping, and frequent pauses in breathing.

These symptoms are generally caused by airway obstruction as a result of enlarged throat tissue or poor airway-muscle tone. If you suffer from these symptoms, see your doctor for a physical exam. He or she may refer you to a specialist for a sleep assessment like a polysomnogram, which measures various body functions during sleep to determine the severity of your breathing impairment. Based on these diagnostics, your medical team will be able to help treat your sleep apnea and to prevent any associated side effects to your cardiovascular health.

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Snoring And Its Contribution To Sleep Deprivation…

Although many people snore occasionally, it can affect some people frequently and cause significant sleep issues. Snoring can impair the quantity and quality of sleep of you and your family members or roommates. Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone. It occurs most often, however, in men and in those who are overweight. Additionally, snoring usually becomes worse as you age. Habitual snorers often require medical assistance to get a good night’s sleep.



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Snoring is caused by the physical obstruction of airflow through the mouth and nose. This obstruction of airflow can be caused by a combination of various factors. Some people snore because of obstructed nasal airways, which can occur during a sinus infection or in allergy seasons. Bulky throat tissues can also aggravate snoring; this is generally a concern for those who are overweight or for children with large tonsils. Additionally, poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue as a result of aging or alcohol consumption can lead to snoring, as relaxed throat muscles can collapse back into the airway and obstruct airflow. Finally, having a long uvula or a long soft palate can narrow the passage between the nose and throat, causing frequent snoring.

Those who suffer from snoring can experience impaired sleep in several areas. Chronic snorers often develop obstructive sleep apnea, which involves interrupted breathing during sleep, waking up frequently during the night, higher blood pressure, and greater risk of cardiovascular issues. Additionally, chronic snorers can hinder the sleep of those around them, causing others to experience drowsiness during the day and an impaired quality of life, which may lead to resentment and strained relationships.

Because sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing, it is important to consult your healthcare provider to determine how to treat your snoring. To maximize the quality of your sleep and decrease the effects of sleep deprivation, ensure that your snoring and other sleep disorders are treated by a medical professional. He or she can help you develop good sleep habits to prevent snoring and its harmful effects.

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Snoring and Heart Attacks!!!

People who experience chronic snoring are at risk for serious health complications, such as obstructive sleep apnea and subsequent cardiovascular strain. Prolonged sleep apnea can create higher blood pressure and cause cardiac enlargement, which results in a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.



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Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is generally associated with obesity, which is also a primary risk factor for stroke and heart disease.”The evidence is very strong for the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension and cardiovascular disease generally, so people really need to know that,” says Dr. Donna Arnett, incoming president of the American Heart Association. In the United States, heart disease is currently the leading cause of death, and stroke is a leading cause of both death and disability. High blood pressure serves as a major risk factor for both conditions.

Research suggests that snorers with sleep apnea are twice as likely to experience nonfatal heart-disease events and fatal heart attacks. To reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications, patients are often treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in addition to being encouraged to lose weight and increase physical activity.

Because snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea and subsequent cardiovascular disease, it is essential that you consult your doctor to treat your snoring and to ascertain whether you are also experiencing any cardiovascular issues that require treatment. At home, try implementing several lifestyle changes to resolve snoring and to prevent cardiovascular complications. Losing weight and exercising are two of the most important strategies for reducing snoring and promoting physical health. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives and quitting smoking are also important to promote healthy throat tissue and aid regular sleep. Finally, establishing regular sleep patterns can often help you sleep better and minimize snoring.

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Snoring and Gender!

Although many people experience snoring from time to time, the condition is most commonly seen in men and in those who are overweight. According to the Mayo Clinic, men are much more likely than women to snore or to experience related conditions like sleep apnea.



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An estimated half of adult men snore for varying reasons. Most commonly, men snore because their airways become narrower during sleep, which creates a resistance in the pathways connecting the nose and mouth to the lungs. Alternatively, a smaller percentage of men suffer from structural issues in their jaw and face. Issues like a small jaw or a shallow space between the nostrils and the back of the head can cause snoring. This also causes additional suction pressure on the soft tissues of the mouth, creating vibrations and worsening the effects of snoring.

Problematic snoring is most frequent in males who are overweight or obese and usually worsens with age. As a result, it is very important to treat both the snoring and any contributing medical or lifestyle causes of breathing issues. If left untreated, snoring and any associated sleep deprivation can also contribute to heart disease symptoms such as arrhythmias, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. Daytime dysfunction is also common among those who snore because of unrefreshing sleep, which can lead to safety issues, impaired productivity, and cognitive issues.

Because snoring may indicate an underlying medical issue such as obstructive sleep apnea, it is important that those who suffer from chronic snoring see their physicians. Your doctor can ascertain the cause of your snoring, and he or she may also recommend further medical treatment by a specialist. Lifestyle changes are also helpful in reducing the effects of snoring, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.

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Sleep Apnea In Children…

Disordered breathing like obstructive sleep apnea can occur in children as well as in adults. An estimated three to 12 percent of children snore, and one to 10 percent of children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Most children with sleep apnea experience relatively mild symptoms and can outgrow the condition, but others are at risk for complications like cardiopulmonary disease, behavioral problems, and failure to thrive.



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Sleep apnea is marked by pauses in breathing during sleep, and the condition often involves snoring, gasping, or choking as the person struggles to breathe during these episodes. In general, sleep apnea in children is caused by the enlargement of the adenoids or tonsils. This disorder can occur even in newborns and may create long-term health concerns if not treated. An enlarged tongue may also contribute to long-term snoring and sleep apnea in children.

Another increasingly common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children is obesity. Children who are overweight or obese can have sleep-apnea-related breathing problems because of fat deposits in the neck and throat that narrow their airways. Alternatively, existing health conditions such as Down syndrome, a cleft palate, and cerebral palsy can create abnormalities in the tongue and jaw or may cause neuromuscular deficits, which may lead to sleep apnea and other breathing issues.

Sleep apnea in children is most common between ages three and six, when adenoids and tonsils are at their largest in relation to child-size airways. A child who snores chronically should be examined by a doctor or an otolaryngologist. He or she may suggest weight loss to reduce fat deposits or surgery to remove the enlarged tonsils or adenoids. For children who are not candidates for surgery or who experience persistent snoring even after surgery, doctors recommend wearing a sleep mask for at least three hours a night to reduce symptoms and promote healthy breathing.

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Sleep Apnea As A Contributing Factor To Obesity!!!

In addition to making sleep apnea more likely, obesity can also occur as a result of sleep apnea. Although this relationship is not completely understood by researchers yet, the elevated risk of obesity among sleep apnea patients appears to be caused by the effects of sleep deprivation and its effects on hunger and satiety hormones.



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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 65% of Americans are now overweight or obese. Sleep apnea and the resulting poor sleep often prompts people to eat more. This is likely due to impaired hormone activity created by sleep deprivation, which leads to harmful metabolic changes. These metabolic and hormonal changes are why many individuals who suffer from sleep apnea have a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.

When appetite-regulating hormones are operating improperly, it is much easier to overeat and gain weight. Lack of sleep decreases the body’s levels of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for signaling the brain when the body is satiated and no longer hungry. Studies have indicated that leptin levels are disrupted in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea; the extent of leptin disruption is not determined by obesity alone, implying that sleep apnea is responsible for the hormonal imbalance, disrupted appetite, and resulting weight gain.

To make matters worse, when your body is sleep-deprived, it increases its production of ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating appetite and increasing eating. These unhealthy levels of ghrelin and leptin can prompt overeating, fat storage, and excess weight. As a result, many individuals with sleep apnea are at a much higher risk for becoming overweight or obese.

Sleep is incredibly important for your overall health, and most individuals require seven to nine hours of rest each night. If you are suffering from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, see your doctor. He or she can recommend lifestyle adjustments and treatments to ensure better rest and a lower risk of weight gain.

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Relationships Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a common condition that affects approximately 45% of adults occasionally and 25% chronically. Those who experience chronic snoring may be suffering from obstructed breathing or another serious medical condition. An estimated 75% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which involves short periods of disrupted breathing during sleep that can lead to long-term health problems.



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The most common sign of OSA is loud and continual snoring, sometimes punctuated by choking or gasping. Another common OSA symptom is fighting sleepiness throughout the day. Other symptoms of OSA include morning headaches, concentration difficulty, a dry mouth and sore throat when waking in the morning, and irritability or depression. While OSA almost always involves noisy and frequent snoring, snoring itself does not always indicate that a person has OSA.

The immediate effect of sleep apnea is that the snorer sleeps lightly and keeps his or her throat muscles tense to maintain airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get good rest, he or she is often tired during the day, which can impair job performance and jeopardize your safety. If left untreated, OSA increases your risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and other medical issues.

Snoring or OSA generally responds to treatments offered by otolaryngologists and other medical professionals. OSA is commonly treated by a nasal mask that opens the airway via exerting a small amount of positive pressure. This form of treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Adults who suffer from occasional snoring can benefit from adjusting their lifestyle to include healthy weight loss, more exercise, less alcohol, and regular sleeping patterns. If you or your sleeping partner is experiencing any snoring, impaired breathing during sleep, or increased sleepiness, see your physician to ascertain whether OSA is the cause. He or she can also suggest treatment options and lifestyle changes to relieve these symptoms.

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Why Snoring And Sleep Apnea Should Be Taken Seriously

Although snoring may seem like a normal-albeit annoying-habit, it can indicate serious health concerns. Loud and chronic snoring often suggests physiological disorders in the snorer, and the noisy condition can also create significant disruptions for the snorer and his or her bed partner. Consequently, “bad snoring is not a laughing matter. It can signify significant medical disease,” warns Kent Wilson of the University of Minnesota.



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Snoring and sleep apnea are linked, even though the two conditions are sometimes different disorders. Not everyone who snores is suffering from sleep apnea. That being said, habitual snorers are at risk for other health issues, especially for obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when airflow through the mouth and nose is obstructed by tissue or similar structures. Often, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a critical sleep disorder involving the cessation of breathing in regular episodes. These episodes are usually followed by snoring, choking sounds, or gasping as the body attempts to restore airflow. If left untreated, chronic snoring and related sleep apnea can lead to serious limitations for your health and abilities.

Health risks involved with snoring and sleep apnea include restless sleep, cardiovascular strain, low blood oxygen, chronic headaches, and potential weight gain. Additionally, relationships between snorers and those around them can become tense if the snorer is the subject of teasing or if others become resentful after constant sleepless nights. Finally, safety issues are also an issue for those affected by snoring, as fatigue can increase your risk of accidents and injury.

If you are a heavy snorer (that is, if you snore constantly regardless of your sleeping position), see your doctor for an examination of your nose, mouth, throat, and neck to determine the cause of your snoring and address any related concerns like daytime fatigue. If you doctor suspects that you may have sleep apnea, he or she will likely suggest a sleep test or refer you to a sleep specialist.

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