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7 Things That Make Sleep Apnea Worse: What Not to Do

Do you experience morning headaches, difficulty falling asleep gasping for air when sleeping and loud snoring? Does your sleeping partner constantly complain about the episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep? You are likely suffering from sleep apnea. The disorder is a common condition in the USA.

According to a recent study, about 70 million American adults have prevalent sleeping disorders. Almost half have of them sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a severe sleeping disorder in which a person’s breathing gets interrupted repeatedly during sleep.

This means the body organs do not receive the necessary amount of oxygen. Excessive fat/obesity and tonsils or dental conditions, heart or kidney failure, growth in the airways, and in some instances congenital disabilities are among the things that cause sleep apnea.

Michael Twery, the director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, warns that untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart diseases, memory loss, obesity, and blood pressure. There are Some things which make sleep apnea worse, making it uncomfortable for you.

Here are seven things that make sleep apnea worse, and you shouldn’t do.

1. Excessive Weight Gain

Excessive weight gain can make sleep apnea worse. A buildup in fat around the neck can compress the tissues in the airway. This increases the probability of collapse during sleep when the muscles relax. According to a study when a person with sleep apnea adds weight the chances of their sleep apnea getting worse increases. There is also evidence that suggests that sleep apnea may cause weight gain.

According to a study conducted on women with sleep apnea, the condition increases the need to consume unhealthy foods. This, in turn, leads to weight gain. One of the best sleep apnea treatments is Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation and Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP). These devices monitor your breathing during sleep and help to open up the airways.

Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines are used to help patients with sleep Apnea to breathe in a controlled manner. They put on a face mask and inhale air from the pump which comes in a regular rhythm. Using CPAP distilled water makes the breathing experience even better.

2. The Way You Sleep

According to research, a person’s sleeping position has a direct effect on making sleep apnea worse. For example, sleeping while facing the ceiling increases the chances of breathing disruptions. According to Dr. Asha Singh, the director of the Sleep Medicine Program in Portland, sleeping on your back makes the tongue lower further thereby making sleep apnea worse.

Doctors advise avoiding sleeping on the back position to reduce the chances of making sleep apnea worse. Fortunately, there are sleep apnea products that will ensure your sleep apnea therapy is as effective as possible.

3. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health. For a person with sleep apnea, it is more dangerous because alcohol increases muscle relaxation in the throat and the tongue. Therefore, alcohol makes the airway more prone to disruptions during sleep.

4. Existing Medical Conditions

High blood pressure and diabetes are some of the things that make sleep apnea worse. Majority of American adults who suffer from high blood pressure also have sleep apnea. Doctor Asha Singh advises patients to adhere to the given sleep apnea treatments as it is a proven means of decreasing blood pressure.

Lack of sleep can also lead to diabetes as the body cannot be able to produce enough insulin. Diabetes worsens sleep apnea in patients. It is therefore crucial to taking medications given to avoid aggravating the condition.

5. Smoking

Smoking tobacco is another thing that makes sleep apnea worse. Smoking tobacco worsens sleep apnea. Smoke irritates the upper airway and the throat over time. The result is the area swells leading to narrowing and inflammation of the airways. Disruptions when breathing during sleep come as a result.

Doctors warn against smoking cigarettes for people with sleep apnea to avoid worsening the condition.

6. Prescribed Medications

One of the other things that make sleep apnea worse is prescribed medications. Doctors warn against certain types of drugs such as benzodiazepines, opiates, and muscle relaxants such as sleeping pills. This is because they have a tendency to cause muscles to relax, which can be problematic. Painkillers, which are another form of Prescribed medication.

This is because they cause respiratory suppressions and increase breathing problems. As a patient with sleep apnea, it is advisable to limit the use of some of the prescribed medications to avoid worsening the condition.

7. Menopause

In women, menopause has been shown to worsen sleep apnea in patients. The airway in younger women gets protection from the high amount of progesterone and estrogen. As women grow older, these hormones reduce in the body, thus increasing the risk of sleep apnea.

It also causes worsening of the condition for those already with it. Studies show that women who undergo replacement therapy are at a lower risk.

The Best Way Is to Avoid the Things That Make Sleep Apnea Worse

In order to avoid sleeping complications, it is best to completely avoid things that make sleep apnea worse. Those in your control that is. Consuming excessive alcohol, smoking, and existing medical conditions tend to worsen the condition. Doctors also warn against the intake of unhealthy foods that increase weight.

This is because of the effect a large amount of fats has on airways. It is advisable to follow some of the treatments recommended by doctors. These include Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation and Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP). Therefore, it is imperative to avoid some of these things to prevent worsening the condition.

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