Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms and the Benefits of CPAP Therapy - Share A Word
Sleep is vital for your physical health and well-being. A good night’s sleep allows your body to recharge and refresh while healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Therefore, any type of sleep deprivation or sleep deficiency, such as sleep apnea, can lead to many chronic health conditions.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during your sleep. Your breathing may pause up to 400 times every night, disturbing your sleep. In most cases, depending on the severity of the condition, sleep apnea machines are needed to regulate this problem. One such example is the CPAP medical equipment, which stands for continuous positive airflow pressure and is the most effective treatment for mild to severe sleep apnea. Its purpose is to deliver constant and steady air pressure to help you breathe while you sleep. An essential part of CPAP therapy is the CPAP mask.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA) and complex sleep apnea. The most common one is the first one, OSA, where your upper airway gets partially or completely blocked while you sleep. Thus, making your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open your airway and pull air into your lungs. Your breath can become shallow, or you may pause breathing for a few seconds. You start breathing again but with a loud gasp or body jerk.
You may not be aware of this whole process, and that is why you have to undergo a sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram. Sleep studies are an essential diagnostic tool for many sleep disorders. They record your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate and breathing etc. After the test, your sleep centre doctor reviews your sleep stages and cycles.
Who Usually Has Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. It is estimated that about 5% of Australians have sleep apnoea. With such a prevalent condition, almost every Australian city and town have their CPAP equipment provider. So, whether you’re living in the second-largest city in Victoria and looking for a CPAP Geelong based supplier or you’re located in the small town of Grafton, New South Wales, chances are you’ll find the equipment you need. And if not, there are always online sellers who offer free delivery to your area.
However, some factors increase the risk of getting OSA, such as being male, overweight, age, family history, consuming alcohol, smoking etc. The extra weight can worsen apnea symptoms by fat depositing around your upper airway, which can obstruct your breathing. Weight loss can help and reduce the OSA, but additional therapies might be needed. Also, men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than women. As with other conditions, if any of your family members have this condition, then the possibility of you developing the same is higher than the average person.
What Are the Symptoms?
According to one recent study, one in ten Australians suffer from undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea. The symptoms might be there, but the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated. Unless your partner is a heavy sleeper, you must have heard complaints about how your snoring is so loud that even the neighbours can’t sleep.
Symptoms you need to be aware of:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness,
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Awful morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
- Mood changes and irritability
Snoring can be a symptom of a serious health problem, like obstructive sleep apnea, but not everyone who has sleep apnea snores.
Benefits of Using CPAP Machines to Treat OSA
Once your doctor diagnoses you with OSA, you might need to wear a CPAP machine. It might be challenging but remember that without it, you are like a ticking time bomb, never knowing when other serious problems might go off. Luckily, there are many local suppliers online, and whether you are searching for a CPAP Geelong or any other region, you can have it shipped to your location in no time.
Treating sleep apnea with CPAP protects you from serious health risks and can have several benefits for your wellbeing.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Sleep apnea puts constant stress on the heart due to breathing pauses. These pauses cause changes in your blood pressure and reduce your blood oxygen levels. Once the body is oxygen-deprived, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the body to gasp for air. Another change that happens once there is a low oxygen level is hypertension since repetitive pauses in breathing lead to repetitive changes in blood pressure. However, CPAP prevents this constant strain on your heart.
Good for Diabetes Sufferers
Sleep apnea can cause a lot of complications if you already have diabetes. Due to the breathing pauses in your sleep, your level of carbon dioxide increases in the blood, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when your cells don’t use insulin effectively and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood, leading to high blood sugar. That is why if you want to regulate glucose control, you have to treat sleep apnea with CPAP first.
Improves Emotional Health
This condition is tiring; not getting enough sleep every night leaves you feeling miserable the next day. As sleep apnea progresses, so does the depressive symptoms. Recent showed that 73% of sleep apnea patients had depressive symptoms, which worsened as the condition progressed. However, after three months of therapy, only 4% still had depressive symptoms, while the others did not report such a thing.
Reduces the Risk of a Vehicle Accident
One research showed that heavy vehicle drivers diagnosed with OSA were over three times more likely to get into an accident than drivers without OSA. Having sleep apnea makes it hard to concentrate and stay awake while driving. Once you treat this condition, you can become a safer driver.
To sum up, sleep apnea can be dangerous if left untreated. Even though there is no cure yet, sleep apnea CPAP machines make it much more bearable and give you another chance in life.