When reading blogs you often get a glimpse into the lives of people that you’ve never met and recently I was alarmed when I saw comments by a blogger that strongly suggested that she probably had sleep apnea. The reason I was alarmed is because I know the dangers of being sleep deprived as a result of sleep apnea. The stereotype of a sleep-apnea affected person is that of an overweight older man…stereotypes lie…
CAUTION…PHOTOS DO NOT ALWAYS REPRESENT WRITING :-) They’re just for some eye candy…
Anyone can have sleep apnea, even your child, childhood sleep apnea is a growing concern for parents and I’m sure that I had apnea as a very young child. Snoring is an obvious sympton. The sympton that I have vivid recollections of is nightmares. Nightmares plagued my childhood and they were vivid and frightening. I remember awakening and screaming quite often .
Sleep Apnea is probably the real reason all of photos of me are a bit
The bad news is…I still have nightmares…not as frequent or as vivid…but I do have them. They are especially prevalent when I’m having sinus problems and can’t use my c-pap machine. The c-pap machine is considered the gold standard of treating sleep apnea. There are various surgeries that are available and often necessary for some individuals. I prefer to avoid any surgery unless I absolutely have no other alternative. Using a c-pap successfully is all about wanting to be successful.
Here is a simple list of symptoms of sleep apnea…
- Loud and frequent snoring
- Periods of not breathing during sleep
- Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep
- Need to urinate during the night
- High blood pressure
- Morning headaches
- Awakening tired in the morning
- Daytime or evening lethargy
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Drowsy driving, limited attention, memory loss and poor judgment
- Personality changes
- Weight gain, severe leg swelling, body mass index of 25 or more
- Hyperactive behavior, especially in children
- Decreased size of airways and large neck.
I’m going to concentrate on sleep apnea in women, since most of our readers are women. The things that affect your chances of having sleep apnea often cannot be controlled, such as your heredity.
The following information is taken from WebM.D.
Factors that you cannot change and that may make it more likely you will have sleep apnea include:
- Aging. Sleep apnea is most common in people age 30 and older.
- Male gender. Sleep apnea is more common in men. Some studies have indicated that about 2 to 3 times more men than women have sleep apnea, and sleep laboratories report that 5 or 6 times more men than women have the disease.
- Family history. If other members of your family have sleep apnea, you are more likely to get the disease than someone who does not have a family history of the disease.
- Ethnicity. Blacks, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders have a greater risk of sleep apnea than white people. Blacks get sleep apnea at a younger age than whites.
- Deformities of the spine. Deformities of the spine, such as scoliosis, may interfere with breathing and contribute to sleep apnea.
- Conditions that may cause head and face (craniofacial) abnormalities. Conditions such as Marfan's syndrome and Down syndrome may result in craniofacial abnormalities and increase the risk for sleep apnea.
- Menopause. Recent studies indicate that sleep apnea occurs more often in women who have been through menopause than in women who have not. After menopause, women get sleep apnea at a rate similar to men. Experts do not know why or how menopause increases the risk of sleep apnea.
There are also conditions that we, as women, can change…
- Obesity. About 70% of people who have sleep apnea are obese. Obesity is the factor most likely to lead to sleep apnea.
- Neck circumference. People who are overweight may have extra tissue around their neck, adding to their risk for sleep apnea. The risk increases for a man whose neck measures more than 17 inches around and for a woman whose neck measures more than 16 inches around.
- Enlarged tissues of the nose, mouth, or throat. Enlarged tissues in the nose, mouth, or throat can cause narrowing or blockage of the airway while you sleep, making sleep apnea more likely. Surgery can sometimes correct the blockage and improve sleep apnea.
- Bone deformities. Bone deformities of the nose, mouth, or throat can interfere with breathing, causing sleep apnea. Some people who have sleep apnea have a small, receding jaw. Surgery can sometimes correct these deformities and improve sleep apnea.
- Use of alcohol or medicine. Drinking alcohol or taking certain medicines before going to sleep can increase the risk for sleep apnea. These include sleeping pills and sedatives.
- Sleeping on your back and using pillows. Sleeping on your back and using one or more pillows may make sleep apnea symptoms worse.
- Smoking. Smoking can increase your risk for sleep apnea, because the nicotine that is in tobacco relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open.
- Poor sleep habits. Going to bed in different places or waking up at different times may increase your risk for sleep apnea.
- Disorders of the hormone (endocrine) system. Disorders of the endocrine system (such as hypothyroidism and acromegaly) may increase your risk for sleep apnea.
I’ll continue this tomorrow…