“Sleep–it was all I could thing about,” recalls Michael, a computer programmer in Chicago, IL. “I was so tired that I couldn’t do my work, and I would collapse on the couch when I got home. My wife thought I was just lazy. My fatigue was literally ruining my life until my doctor diagnosed my sleep apnea. It was such a relief to know it wasn’t all in my head.”
Michael is far from alone in dealing with sleep apnea, which is one of many types of sleep disorders – it’s known to most of us as snoring. Medical experts in sleep disorders report that 80 million Americans have serious sleep problems, and, of these, about 10 million have sleep apnea that needs treatment.
Steve Birch, product manager for Healthdyne Technologies in Marietta, GA, agrees that the impact of sleep apnea can be devastating. “With severe sleep apnea, patients are excessively sleepy during the day. It affects their work, personal lives, and activities such as driving and operating heavy machinery. They may wake up with a headache, lack energy, and even experience personality changes,” he notes. “Lifestyle and quality of life can be seriously affected.”
And, there can be serious health consequences. According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, an estimated 38,000 cardiovascular deaths occur each year due to obstructive sleep apnea. The commission also states that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea are seven times more likely to have automobile accidents as the general population.
Another complication is the need for additional physician information on sleep disorders. Recent reports indicate that 95% of patients with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed. If your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea, you may be sent to a sleep lab, or you may be equipped with a sleep apnea monitor to use at home. From the results of these tests, your doctor can determine if you have sleep apnea, and, if you do, what type you have and the best method of treatment.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are three forms of sleep apnea:
1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form (up to 90%). Structures at the back of the throat (pharynx) collapse intermittently during sleep, blocking airflow. Because of this obstruction, the person tends to snore (another symptom) and struggles for breath. He or she briefly wakes up, resumes breathing, and goes back to sleep. Some people repeat this cycle hundreds of times a night and often are completely unaware of the problem.
2) Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) results from your brain and your body’s nervous system failing to coordinate, in effect “forgetting” to tell the body when to breathe.
3) Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) is a mixture of both OSA and CSA. Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the most obvious symptoms of OSA. It is more than simply being drowsy–it is a chronic inability to stay awake. Snoring, possibly with gasping or choking, is another obvious symptom. Irritability is also common, due to a continuing lack of sleep.
A Treatable Problem
Obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable health problem. The most common form of treatment used to involve surgery, but Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP, pronounced “see-pap”) is now the most widely prescribed form of treatment and can be used for both obstructive and mixed sleep apnea. There are a number of stop snoring devices as well as sleep apnea treatments that work. You just have to understand how to stop snoring, which isn’t as easy as you might think.
Patients using nasal CPAP sleep with a small nose mask, which delivers various levels of air pressure through tubing connected to a CPAP unit. The level of air pressure adjusts for different patient requirements. This pressure prevents the collapse of tissue in the throat, keeping this passageway open for breathing.
“Using the CPAP unit is simple,” says Birch. “Turn on the unit and place the nasal mask over the nose. The mask is attached to a hose, which is attached to the unit. After making any adjustments on the mask to eliminate leaks, you lie down and go to sleep.”
As with most industries, competition within the market has created a better product. “Industry wide, competition always brings improvement,” observes Mark Estes, product manager for the Sleep Disorder Breathing Products at Respironics in Murrysville, PA. “Systems offered today versus those offered eight years ago have become much more patient-oriented. Today’s CPAP systems are quieter, simpler to use, and easier to live with and travel with. They look less medical, blend into the home decor, and have convenient features that make it easier to use and clean.”
According to Estes, “The key is that CPAP systems can make a great difference for the patients, who become more productive and active. They sleep better and feel better. It really does make a difference in their lives.”
Some Available CPAP Products
The use of CPAP systems to treat sleep apnea is available only with a physician’s prescription. All information on CPAP systems listed below was provided by the manufacturers.
* DeVilbiss Health Care, a division of Sunrise Medical in Somerset, PA, offers the Revitalizer Soft-Start CPAP system, which comes with a blue carrying case and shoulder strap. The automated “ramp” system begins at a low pressure, and gradually increases pressure to the prescribed level. A pressure transducer continuously reads and compares the operating pressure to the preset pressure and makes instantaneous adjustments.
* Healthdyne Technologies, Marietta, GA, offers the Tranquility Plus nasal CPAP system, which reacts to the user’s breathing pattern, reducing the pressure during exhalation and allowing more natural breathing. “Ramp” feature enables the user to fall asleep more comfortably. A “Leak Test” switch lets the user set and seal the mask. Compact design and trim profile make it easier to use for travel and at home.
* ResCare, San Diego, CA, offers the Sullivan APD 2 nasal CPAP system, which has a simple system set-up, ease of operation, and is user friendly. Light-weight and portable, it is ideal for the traveler and outdoors person, and is ultra-quiet for patient comfort. The slim design allows a reduced space requirement. It comes with battery option and automatic international voltage compatibility.
* Respironics, Murrysville, PA, offers the REMstar Choice CPAP system. With the wireless remote, REMstar Choice can be set away from your bed and still maintain push-button control. Various mask sizes and headgear assure a comfortable fit. “Ramp” function can be started with the remote or ramp button on the unit. Small and lightweight, it is easily portable, with DC power for travel.
Snoring can be a brutal for you and your loved ones. Your loved ones cannot have a proper night’s sleep and you might not even feel a thing throughout the night. According to experts, snoring can be the cause of very serious problems such as heart disease and marital issues. But do not fear, as there are many remedies to help you stop snoring.
One of the main solutions on help to stop snoring is by having a sound sleep. Try to sleep at the same time every day. A change in sleeping pattern might affect your muscles, especially if you are one of those folks who like working late into the night. Another solution is to ensure you’re consuming sufficient fluids. Without sufficient fluids running through your body, your nose and the soft palate \will become stickier due to the lack of liquid. And this might lead to snoring, too. Those are two of the many remedies on how to stop snoring. There are still other remedies, which are available for free from doctors or books.
Why do people snore, and how do you stop snoring? These are the top two questions that people normally ask. Snoring is a sound which starts at the back of a person’s mouth – the place where many soft tissues meet. Snoring occurs when these tissues start vibrating. Experts have discovered that snoring occurs more often in men, compared to women. They also noted that snoring increases with age.
The next big question is how to stop snoring. There are basically many remedies that you can try to stop yourself from snoring. One of the common answers to snoring is to change your sleeping position and your posture. People who sleep on their back are usually have a higher chance of snoring. This is because in this position, the flesh of a person’s throat will relax and block the breathing passage. If you are a smoker, this might also be the reason why you snore. Smoking not only is detrimental to your health, it also causes lung and nasal congestion, which will lead to snoring.