Sleep apnea. The word itself gives rise to worry and significant apprehension. It conjures up images of a man or woman suffering in sleep; possibly tossing and turning; certainly struggling to maintain a consistent REM cycle. It may conjure up images of coughing or sputtering breaths. It’s all part of the same disorder.
Sleep apnea, defined, is a potentially serious sleeping disorder characterized by pauses in breath and shallow breathing. It affects potentially 18 million Americans, 2% to 4% of which go undiagnosed, which leads to complications such as higher blood pressure, higher risk of heart disease, higher risk of stroke, higher risk of diabetes and many other illnesses.
Sleep apnea tends to affect those who:
- Are male
- Have an excessive weight
- Are above the age of 40
- Have a large neck size (greater than 16-17 inches
- Have enlarged tonsils or tongue
- Have a small jaw bone
- Have allergies
- Have sinus problems
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
- Have a deviated septum
The numbers for those who have untreated sleep apnea are difficult to bear. For instance, with one in five individuals not being diagnosed, those individuals have four times the risk of stroke than those who have been diagnosed. Those individuals also have three times the risk of developing heart disease.
So what does sleep apnea look like? An individual with sleep apnea will certainly have trouble sleeping. Generally, their breath will be interrupted multiple times per hour. Often, it looks like they are trying to breath but struggling to. This interrupted breath is a characteristic of sleep apnea, sometimes happening up to 60 times per hour.
What are the causes of sleep apnea? Well, you already know the risk factors. Sleep apnea is generally divided into two categories: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to the soft, fatty tissue in the throat. Ordinarily, when a person goes to sleep, the body muscles relax, bringing into play the soft, collapsible tissues in the throat. Individuals with low muscle tone or a high degree of obesity may find that this tissue collapses into the throat, obstructing the airway.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain’s respiratory controls are imbalanced during sleep. Blood carbon dioxide levels and the brain’s respiratory control mechanisms don’t react quickly enough, causing the interrupted breathing during sleep.
For cases of obstructed sleep apnea, early treatment and prevention methods may include:
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking
- Quitting drinking
- Sleep the side
- Sleep propped up, as if in a recliner
- Gaining muscle mass
- Changing diets
- And more
There are even studies that show that putting a mouthpiece in to open up the throat can have some efficacy in treating the disorder. Sometimes surgery is performed to knock down the size of the tonsils or work on the fatty tissue in the throat. There are many options to treat sleep apnea but still some patients struggle with the demands of the treatment.
For those patients, there is the CPAP machine.
CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” A CPAP machine works by combining three parts–the base or the pump, the hose, and the pressure delivery device. CPAP machines help sleep apnea sufferers by providing a consistent stream of air, which opens up the fatty tissues in the throat and allowing the sufferer to breath.
Unfortunately, many patients with sleep apnea don’t use it enough to keep them safe. That goes for 80% of the patients who use their CPAP machine. In fact, studies have shown that half of all people prescribed CPAP machines stop using them in one to three weeks.
For best results, patients should use CPAP machines at least 70% of the time over a 30 day period, for at least four hours every night.
There are many preferences for purchasing a CPAP machine. Many choose to find a website that works for the buying or selling used CPAP machines. Used CPAP machines may be a little worn compared to the newer products but they can be just as effective.
Buying or selling used CPAP machines can also help fellow sufferers purchase the product they need at a discount and for you to make a little extra money. When individuals look for buying or selling used CPAP machines, they still have the options available when purchasing the set they want. Buying or selling used CPAP machines can have good results in the marketplace.