Sleep apnea causes sleep issues. People with this condition often stop breathing for short times while sleeping, causing disrupted sleep and other health issues. Sleep apnea can cause significant harm due to the lack of oxygen, making individuals gasp and wake up in search of air.
In most cases, people don’t even know that they stopped breathing. They often believe that their sleep cycle is average. Many times, the first sign of sleep apnea is snoring.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can cause many health complications. On top of that, people often notice lethargy throughout the day due to a lack of sleep.
Sleep apnea can also cause:
- Increased risk of heart failure
- Mental health issues
- Memory loss
- Poor immune function
Common treatments for sleep apnea include breathing devices, surgery, and even medication. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines are perhaps the most common form of treatment. However, you’ll want to talk to your doctor thoroughly before deciding on the right brand for you.
On Monday, June 14, 2021, Philips Respironics issued a recall for all CPAP, APAP, and BiPAP machines sold from 2009 until 2021.
According to one of the law firms at the forefront of a lawsuit against Philips, Matt Dolman of DolmanLaw.com, “Philips is recalling their CPAP machines because of a foam part inside the device that can break down and become toxic to the user. As the foam breaks down, it can release toxic chemicals that can cause irritation, infections, breathing problems, and cancer.”
If you or a loved one is suffering from cancer and you used a Philips CPAP machine, Dolman advises you to talk to a lawyer and see if you have a valid claim against the company.
You can read more about CPAP machines and the current lawsuit over at DolmanLaw.com.
If you have a minor case of sleep apnea, and do not need a CPAP machine, you can deal with sleep apnea via lifestyle changes.
Maintain Your Weight
Most commonly, doctors will recommend that people dealing with sleep apnea lose weight. Obesity can increase the odds of airway obstruction and narrow air passages. A lot of the time, these specific obstructions can cause you to stop breathing suddenly.
Maintaining a good weight can keep your airways clear and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. In many cases, weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea altogether—though the condition can return if you regain the weight.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Sometimes, medicine and machines simply aren’t enough. Lifestyle changes, however, can improve your health significantly and encourage better sleep patterns. When hoping to reduce sleep apnea, quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake can help.
Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that control your breathing. This leads to snoring and terrible sleep cycles. Sometimes, it can also lead to inflammation in your airways that blocks your airflow.
Tobacco use can also contribute to significant inflammation and swelling in your airways. This can also worsen your snoring and your sleep apnea. Smoking is actually a huge risk factor for sleep apnea.
Regular exercise can significantly increase your energy level, improve sleep apnea, and strengthen your heart. Yoga and pilates can improve your respiratory strength and encourage oxygen flow.
Often, sleep apnea is associated with decreased oxygen saturation in your blood. Luckily, yoga’s breathing exercises can improve your oxygen levels. As a result, yoga may reduce your sleep interruptions.
The Bottom Line
Many lifestyle changes can help with sleep apnea or at least reduce its symptoms. However, don’t ignore traditional treatments. Sometimes surgery, as well as prescribed medications, can be the best approach to treat this condition. Make sure to talk to your doctor before pursuing any treatments. If your symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical help.