Bring out the chips and dip, load up the playlist, and fill up your humidifier chamber, because it’s time to celebrate Sleep Apnea Awareness Week, which runs from October 6th until the 13th. Sandwiched between National Walk Your Dog Week and National Chestnut Week – National Sandwich Week is not until May – Sleep Apnea Awareness week is held to shed a spotlight on the debilitating sleep disorder. This week, the American Sleep Association (ASA) wants people to learn more about the disorder – it’s symptoms, it’s signs, it’s risks and some viable treatment options. Here are a few ways that you can get prepared for Sleep Apnea Awareness Week.
Learn About the Symptoms and Signs
Sleep apnea is characterized as having multiple cessations, or pauses, in breathing during sleep. These cessations, or apneas as they are called, can happen hundreds of times throughout the night. However, it can be hard to know if you actually have the disorder – mostly because you are sleeping through the tumult that your body is going through. This is why it is important to look out for some of the common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. One common sign is excessive snoring –it’s your body’s way of telling you that some kind of disordered breathing is going on. Daytime fatigue and exhaustion are other common signs – all those pauses in breathing are causing you to not get enough sleep at night. Other telltale signs include frequent urination, headaches, night sweats, irritability, depression, and brain farts.
Learn About the Risks
It seems like every week there is a new study that explores the deleterious, and sometimes lethal, consequences of sleep apnea. For instance, because of the disorder’s ability to rob you of much needed sleep – the fatigue and extreme daytime sleepiness can increase your chances of getting into a motor vehicle collision. There are also many risks that increase your chances of getting the sleep disorder. Obesity is a major risk factor for the disorder, especially for those people with a bigger neck circumference – the pauses in breathing are caused by having an enlarged muscle in the throat that blocks airflow. This muscle only blocks airflow when it is relaxed, which is usually when you are asleep. Other risk factors include being male – men are twice as likely to suffer from the disorder. However, women are certainly not immune. There is also a strong link between type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Moreover, there are significant cardiovascular risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
Learn About the Myths
As far as medical disorders go, sleep apnea is only recently becoming better understood. Before the 1970s, the disorder was named after a character in a Charles Dickens story, which should give you an idea as to how antiquated people’s notions were about sleep apnea and how to treat it. As a result, there are have been a lot of myths about the sleep disorder – myths that have halted advancements in research and the possibility to save millions of lives. One of the biggest myths is that the disorder is not that dangerous. But as more and more studies come out – studies that conclude the link between sleep apnea and blindness, hearing loss, and even brain injury – it is vividly clear that sleep apnea is incredibly dangerous. Another myth is the general belief that sleep apnea only affects older people. It is true that sleep apnea is more prevalent in the senior population, but it can also occur to children and people from a wide age demographic. Basically, no one is safe from the burning fireball that is obstructive sleep apnea.
Learn How To Get Tested
These days, there are many different options when it comes to getting tested for the sleep disorder. For one thing, you could have a polysomnography test taken at a sleep laboratory. You are often required to visit a specialized sleep lab where you will be observed over night. They will test everything – from the loudness of your snoring to your eye movements and your various breathing patterns. Another option is to take a split-night study, which includes a polysomnography and a test to measure your conduciveness to CPAP treatment. These tests can range from close to a thousand dollars to multiple thousands of dollars. You can also opt for a home sleep test, which can be done in the comfort of your own home. A home sleep test is often much more affordable and convenient. A home sleep test may also be more accurate – mainly as a result of the test being conducted in your natural sleeping environment and not in a foreign sleep lab with a number of doctors watching you sleep.
Learn About CPAP Treatment
Before the 1970s, a common treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea was surgery. Now, however, CPAP – or continuous positive airway pressure – is the predominant and preeminent choice for treating obstructive sleep apnea. More than surgery, more than drugs, more than oral devices or implants – CPAP more effectively knocks out the symptoms of the disorder. CPAP reverses brain damage, it reduces hypertension, it is good for sex, it will help you get an erection, and it will increase your lifespan – these are just some of the positive affects of CPAP therapy. Also, the more compliant you are to CPAP treatment, the more beneficial the affects will be. Plus, there are a plethora of CPAP machines and equipment that can help make therapy a lot more comfortable and effective.
In the end, Sleep Apnea Awareness week isn’t only a time to learn about the disorder, it is also a time to start considering options for getting tested and for treating the disorder. Your life can be drastically improved by undergoing CPAP treatment – just imagine waking up and going throughout your day without all those symptoms. Just imagine a night full of restful sleep. Sound’s pretty good, doesn’t it? And if you are the loved one or partner of someone you suspect has sleep apnea, Sleep Apnea Awareness Week is also the perfect excuse to let that person know he or she may have the disorder. You can also visit the Easy Blog to learn much more about the disorder, treatment, troubleshooting and a number of other questions and concerns that you may have. In the end, sleep apnea is a treatable and conquerable disorder – this is the most important thing you need to remember.