Surviving Snoring Sickness: How to Cope with Severe Sleep Apnea

woman wearing CPAP machine

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with significant consequences. Around 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. Left untreated, this disorder leads to cardiovascular issues. These can include stroke, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

Many people are unaware that they suffer from sleep apnea, also known as snoring sickness. If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, you may have sleep apnea.

Has your partner noticed you snore at night? Do you stop breathing for short periods of time while asleep? Do you suffer from depression? These are also symptoms of possible severe sleep apnea.

Read on for proven suggestions for coping with severe sleep apnea.

Severe Sleep Apnea

If you've ever woken up startled from sleep gasping for air, that's a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. This happens when the airway is blocked due to relaxation of the throat muscles.

Waking up with a sore throat or dryness of the mouth, frequent nighttime urination, and restless sleep are other signs of sleep apnea.

Someone with sleep apnea wakes up as much as 30 times per hour! That's what causes the daytime fatigue and depression. Anxiety is another symptom.

Diagnosis

If you suspect sleep apnea, you'll need a polysomnogram. You'll take the test in a sleep lab, hospital, or sometimes at home. You'll wear electrodes on your face and scalp. You'll also have belts around your abdomen and chest.

The electrodes and belts record all aspects of your breathing. You'll also wear an oximeter to measure oxygen in your blood.

CPAP Machine

If a sleep specialist determines you have sleep apnea, chances are he'll prescribe a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure. It's a machine that forces air into your nose and mouth.

This keeps your passages open so you don't quit breathing.

If you're on Medicare. Look into Medicare supplement plans to help with CPAP costs.

Weight Control

If you suffer from sleep apnea, reach and maintain an ideal weight for your height. Your throat muscles and breathing are affected by the weight inside of your neck. The more weight, the more your throat muscles constrict.

The bigger the circumference of your neck, the higher your risk for sleep apnea. A man's neck circumference is best at 17 inches or less. A woman's neck circumference is best at 15 inches or less.

Alcohol, Smoking, and Sedatives

Avoid alcohol and nighttime sedatives. They both interfere with sleep quality. They also relax the throat muscles which causes the muscles to block breathing.

If you smoke, you're much likelier to suffer from sleep apnea. Smoking causes inflammation and fluid retention in your airway. Sleep apnea is one more reason to quit smoking.

Elevate Your Head and Humidify

Sleep on your side and use a pillow that raises your head. Back sleeping lets your tongue press on the back of your throat. This makes the symptoms worse.

Make sure your bedroom air isn't dry. Use a small humidifier to ease congestion and encourage sinus drainage.

Dealing with Sleep Apnea

If you snore excessively, wake at night, and have daytime fatigue, consider getting tested for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is both treatable and preventable for most people.

Maintain a healthy weight and avoid too much alcohol and sedative use. Keep your bedroom air moist and adjust your sleeping position. These suggestions will all help ease sleep apnea.

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