What is sleep apnea?

In this week’s blog I’ll be discussing sleep apnea. I’ll be discussing what it is, the symptoms, treatment and my personal experience with it.

When was I diagnosed?

I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2015 after a sleep study was done. The test determined that I woke up at least 60 times on average every night and whenever I couldn’t sleep or didn’t sleep good sleep apnea increased anxiety and depression. I was prescribed a CPAP machine.

What is sleep?

To put it very simply it’s a time of rest for your mind and body; the eyes are usually closed and there is little consciousness. Sleep is very important for helping your mind and body recover from a long day.

When it comes to a good night sleep there are too many benefits to mention. When I feel rested from a good night sleep I feel peaceful when I feel physically refreshed and mentally recharged.

However, if I do not get a good night sleep I feel more negative, unfocused and stressed. I start feeling like my mind is not clear, I start feel anxious and depressed. When this happens I start having negative thoughts that cause self-doubt and when I face life’s problems I feel hopeless.

What is sleep apnea?

It is a sleep disorder caused by episodes of brief and interrupted breathing during sleep. An apnea is a pause in your breathing that lasts for at least 10 seconds while you sleep.

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea has many causes:

  • Obesity: Weight gain can cause the build up of soft tissue in the mouth and throat and can cause the airway to be blocked.
  • Deviated septum:The bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half can become misaligned causing breathing problems.
  • Large neck size: If your neck size is 17 inches in diameter or more.
  • Nasal Polyps: Painless non cancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Periodically choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Inability to fall asleep or remain asleep
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling sleepy throughout the day
  • Forgetfulness
  • Moodiness

What are the long term effects of sleep apnea?

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can lead to a lot of long term effects. According to research conducted in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine untreated sleep apnea is associated with health problems such as weight gain, high-blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. A patient is 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer, 4 times more likely to have a stroke and overall mortality is 4 times higher in untreated sleep apnea versus non sleep apnea patients.

What is a CPAP machine?

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP machine helps patients with sleep apnea breath more easily and regularly every night while they are sleeping. A CPAP machine increases the air pressure in your throat to prevent your airway from collapsing when you inhale.

I immediately noticed no morning headaches, not falling asleep as soon as sat down and no afternoon tiredness. I also noticed more positive changes like increased concentration, emotional stability, I was no longer snoring and fewer medical bills when I lost weight and my blood pressure was lowered.

There were a lot of things I learned about sleep apnea. I learned about what it is, the causes and the symptoms of it. Sleep apnea causes my breathing to pause while I sleep, it is caused by being overweight and a large neck size and I learned that symptoms are pretty serious if left untreated. The most important thing of all is the treatment with a CPAP machine.

Have you ever dealt with a sleep disorder? Leave your comments below.

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