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Contact Our Sleep Experts: (479) 464-8727 1208 SE Walton Boulevard, Bentonville, AR 72712

How Sleep Apnea Endangers Your Health

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Do Not Leave Sleep Apnea Untreated

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form, occurs when throat muscles relax.

The most common symptoms are snorting and snoring, and awakening frequently throughout the night. If you suspect you might have obstructive sleep apnea, it is best to see your doctor for a diagnosis. We will address health problems that can arise if obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Health Risks

Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases the risk of developing the following serious medical conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease including heart attacks and heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Obstructive sleep apnea raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure, placing stress on the heart. This may be because apneas frequently reduce blood oxygen levels, activating the branch of the nervous system responsible for increasing heart performance.

Additionally, levels of chemicals in the blood that cause inflammation and promote elevations in blood sugar rise. Such inflammation can damage the heart and blood vessels.

Both hypertension and diabetes increase the risk for heart disease, and the likelihood of being diagnosed with one of these illnesses increases as a result of obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatments/Cures for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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While a diagnosis of sleep apnea can be scary, it is a treatable condition. In fact, there are many things you can do on your own to help, particularly for mild to moderate sleep apnea

  • Weight loss. People who are overweight have extra tissue in the back of their throat, which can fall down over the airway and block the flow of air into the lungs while they sleep.
  • Avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives, especially before bedtime as they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing.
  • Sleep on your side. Avoid sleeping on your back, as gravity makes it more likely for your tongue and soft tissues to drop and obstruct your airway.
  • Prop your head up. Elevate the head of your bed by four to six inches or elevate your body from the waist up by using a foam wedge. You can also use a special cervical pillow.
  • Open your nasal passages. Try to keep your nasal passages open at night using a nasal dilator, saline spray, or breathing strips

Medical Treatment

If the above methods don’t work, your Doctor may suggest the following treatment options:

  • Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine prevents sleep apnea by blowing air into a mask that covers the nose and mouth. The stream of air keeps the airways open. Most CPAP devices are the size of a tissue box. In many cases, you’ll experience immediate symptom relief and a huge boost in your mental and physical energy.
  • One of the newest treatment options for sleep apnea is an alternative form of CPAP called Provent, a device that fits over the nostrils and is smaller and less intrusive than the traditional CPAP machine. If you haven’t been able to adjust to the CPAP mask, ask your doctor about Provent. Keep in mind that Provent, however, is more expensive than regular CPAP machines, and it doesn’t work for everyone.
  • Dental devices: Most dental devices are acrylic and fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep.

Here at Cloud9 we want you to have the best sleep possible. A great mattress is just one facet of a good night’s sleep. Your sleep health is just as important to us. If you feel you have a medical condition such as sleep apnea, it is best to consult your physician. Having the right mattress can certainly a be a huge help!