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Treat Your Sleep Apnea Now to Enjoy a Longer Life

Snoring will usually bother your sleeping partner – and they will tell you about it. While not always a symptom of worse problems – it can be. The potential problems are serious and can prevent a longer life by several years if left untreated. 

The only way to diagnose sleep apnea is to get a sleep test. You can take the test at a sleep doctor’s office or home. It requires wearing a monitor. Many people with this condition are unaware of it. 

The Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The primary reason sleep apnea is such a threat to your longevity is that you stop breathing momentarily. It can be for one or two seconds, ten seconds, or longer, and it may occur hundreds of times in a single night. A sleep partner may tell you that you stop breathing while you sleep.

The most common form – there are three kinds – is called obstructive sleep apnea. Although many people snore, it does not mean you have sleep apnea. Other symptoms you may have include being unable to stay asleep, excessive tiredness in the day, difficulty concentrating while awake, a morning headache, irritability, and gasping for air while sleeping. 

The Danger of Sleep Apnea

The result is that you have insufficient oxygen levels while you sleep. The lack of oxygen is slowly killing the cells in your organs – including your heart and brain. Some health issues you may develop include chronic kidney disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and more. 

People who have untreated sleep apnea are at an increased risk of car accidents because of driving while drowsy. Their memory will be impaired, and an inability to concentrate could lead to job loss. They also have an increased risk of depression. 

Causes of Sleep Apnea

As you sleep, your throat muscles relax. The soft tissues in your throat collapse into your throat, blocking your air passages. 

Why Sleep Apnea Prevents Good Sleep

The reason for constant tiredness, even with eight hours of sleep, is that your brain tries to restart your breathing. You may wake up gasping for air but often will not remember it because you will not become fully awake. If your sleeping partner tells you that you have breathing problems while asleep, you should see a sleep doctor. 

The breathing problems prevent you from falling into deep sleep. That is where you get refreshed, and the lack of deep sleep is why you will feel extremely tired during the day. 

The Risk Factors

Recognizing that you have a problem with sleep apnea should encourage you to take steps to prevent or overcome it. There are four things you can do to help reduce the problem:

  1. Losing weight to get down to the recommended weight
  2. Getting regular exercise (it can reduce your symptoms even without losing weight)
  3. Avoid sleeping on your back
  4. Limit your consumption of alcohol. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

There are several ways to treat sleep apnea. One of the most common ways is to use a forced air method to ensure a constant airstream. A CPAP machine is a proven solution that many use today.

Another method includes a mouthpiece that helps keep the air passage open while you sleep. Doctors may also recommend surgical interventions, exercises of your throat muscles, or implanted nerve stimulators. 

Sleep apnea is serious and needs to be properly diagnosed and treated. If you suspect you have it, contact a sleep doctor for a test (a referral is usually unnecessary). Avoid shortening your longevity. 

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