Sleep Apnea - The 17 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 13): Sleep Apnea – The 17 Most Frequently Asked Questions

sleep apnea
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

A good night’s sleep is one of the three fundamental pillars of optimal health, along with a balanced diet and regular physical exercise. However, certain conditions like sleep apnea tend to hamper the resting phase at night, leading to a decline in energy levels and mental focus.

This illness involves the repeated breathing pauses during sleep. These short stops in breathing lead to the suspension of the oxygen supply through the organs in the body. This shortfall of oxygen activates the brain to wake up from a profound snooze, in order to reinstate normal breathing functions. 

Below we have outlined some of the most frequently asked sleep apnea questions, including what treatment is available for sleep apnea.

 

FAQ #1: What are the signs of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is most often associated with loud snoring, but the signs vary based on each individual. Some common daytime symptoms include: 

 

    • Headaches
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness
    • Sleepiness
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Depression

 

Alternatively, individuals may show night-time signs such as:

 

    • Loud snoring
    • Episodes of interrupted breathing 
    • Restlessness
    • Frequent trips to the washroom
    • Choking or gasping for air 
    • Abrupt awakenings with gasping or choking
    • Difficulty concentrating during the day

 

FAQ #2: What is the root cause of sleep apnea?

The most common cause of sleep apnea is associated with blockage of the upper airway during sleep.

 

FAQ #3: Should I worry about sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious life-threatening disorder that makes normal, restorative sleep impossible. The frequent awakenings associated with sleep apnea may have a detrimental impact on nervous system function, decreasing memory, focus, and reasoning ability.

It can even make the affected individual more prone to chronic ailments of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. It can cause several other discomforting symptoms like:

 

    • Daytime fatigue
    • Abnormal heart rate
    • High blood pressure
    • Migraine headaches
    • Dry mouth
    • Mood swings 
    • Drowsiness
    • Fatigue and irritability

 

FAQ #4: Does everyone that snores have sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is frequently linked to a sleep-related disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but if snoring is accompanied by any other symptoms, you should consult a doctor for an OSA evaluation.

 

FAQ #5: What does a sleep apnea headache feel like?

Some patients report symptoms of sleep apnea that are very similar to a migraine attack, such as:

 

    • Sensitivity to light
    • Sound sensitivity
    • Nausea

 

FAQ #6: What happens if you don’t treat sleep apnea?

If left untreated, this disorder can increase the risk of health problems, including: 

 

    • High blood pressure
    • Gastric reflux
    • Memory loss
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Sudden cardiac death
    • Morning headaches
    • Impaired concentration
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Weight gain

 

FAQ #7: What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are three types of Sleep Apnea – obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea. Out of the three, obstructive sleep apnea is the most frequently occurring disorder.

 

FAQ #8: How do you fix sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea lifestyle remedies include:

 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Altering the sleep position
  • Using a humidifier
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and smoking

 

FAQ #9: Can I test myself for sleep apnea?

Self-evaluation might be the initial step toward obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis.

 

FAQ #10: What vitamin deficiency causes sleep apnea?

Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with sleep apnea; the worse the apnea, the more serious the deficiency. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to a worsening of sleep apnea’s unfavorable impact on heart disease risk.

 

FAQ #11: Can Vitamin D help in treating sleep apnea?

Although vitamin D cannot cure the disorder, still, patients’ vitamin D levels should be evaluated and supplementation urged. Vitamin D is recommended at 600 IU per day by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 

FAQ #12: What vitamins can help with sleep apnea?

A combination of vitamin C and vitamin E has been proven to lessen the number of apnea episodes during the night. They also increase sleep quality and minimize tiredness during the day.

 

FAQ #13: Can weight loss stop sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea and other health problems would disappear if overweight and obese persons lose weight. Even losing 10% of one’s body weight can have a significant impact on sleep apnea symptoms. Losing a considerable amount of weight can potentially heal the illness in certain situations.

 

FAQ #14: Does sleep apnea run in the family?

According to research, roughly 40% of obstructive sleep apnea is due to genetics, implying that it is hereditary. The remaining 60% of cases are related to the environment or lifestyle.

 

FAQ #15: How do they test you for sleep apnea?

The test to detect sleep apnea is called Nocturnal polysomnography. 

 

FAQ #16: Can a blood test detect sleep apnea?

An in-lab screening blood test to measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow, and breathing patterns can help your doctor determine whether you have sleep apnea or not.

 

FAQ #17: Does Ayurveda have a cure for sleep apnea?

5 Phenomenal herbs that relieve snoring and induce undisturbed sleep at night are:

 

    • Shankapushpi
    • Sarpagandha
    • Jatamansi
    • Nirgundi
    • Ashwagandha

 

Final thoughts

Owing to the fact that sleep apnea is largely dependant on environmental factors and lifestyle choices, it makes sense to keep your overall health in check. By opting for regular health screenings, you can stay on top of your health condition and take preventive measures in the event that you are likely to be hit by a disease.

 

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