Sleep Apnea


Have you ever found yourself (or a loved one) in this predicament? Have you been told that you snore loudly? Do you find yourself tired during the day even after you’ve had a full night’s sleep? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a condition called sleep apnea (a common sleep disorder). People who have sleep apnea actually stop breathing periodically (it can be quite often, like in the case of my husband) while they are asleep.   Obviously, this is extremely dangerous and can lead to more severe health complications (because if you’re not breathing…I think they call that dead).

In the most common form of sleep apnea (which is termed obstructive sleep apnea), the muscles in your larynx actually collapse, this prevents the flow of the air to your lungs. Your brain, recognizes the decreased levels of oxygen in your blood and sends an emergency signal to your body to wake you from your beauty sleep so that you can take a breath (because if you’re not breathing….I think they call that dead). This not only prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep (and your partner), it also causes high blood pressure (which increases your chance of heart failure or stroke). If you (or a loved one) suffer from sleep apnea some of the symptoms you might notice include finding yourself   (or them) unable to stay awake at work, while watching TV, folding laundry or even while you are driving (that’s doubly bad!).

Men who are over the age of 40 are the most commonly affected by sleep apnea, however any person who is overweight or obese has a higher risk of developing this condition. Excess weight, especially when it is around your neck, can obstruct your breathing passages. Losing weight by following a healthy lifestyle will help relieve the obstruction you may be experiencing, lessen your snoring, and help you breathe easier.

Sleep apnea should definitely not be taken lightly. I urge you to talk with your doctor if you think you have the condition and weight loss alone is not helping. Your doctor can recommend alternative treatments such as a CPAP machine which can help your body gets the oxygen it needs while you are sleeping.

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