Friday, July 26, 2013

Is Sleep Apnea Genetic?

Studies conducted by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research have found that genetics play a role in all three types of sleep apnea. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that 30 to 40 percent of patients with obstructive sleep apnea have genetic factors that increase their risk for the disorder.

The NIH reports that genetic factors may include “craniofacial structure, body fat distribution and neural control of the upper airway muscles,” but have not yet identified the role specific genes play in the development of sleep apnea.

In addition to genetic factors, you may be at an increased risk for sleep apnea if you:

  • Smoke
  • Use narcotics 
  •  Drink alcohol
  • Are overweight
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle

The causes of sleep apnea are not always known, but several studies have found that risks can be reduced by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Even if you are at an increased risk due to genetic predisposition, you can greatly reduce additional risks for sleep apnea by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and narcotics. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, lifestyle changes are often part of a more comprehensive treatment plan to help ensure proper airflow and help you get a good and healthy night’s sleep.

To learn more about your risks for sleep, please contact I Hate CPAP today to find a qualified physician in your area.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Is Sleep Apnea caused by TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is the name given to anything that results in the misalignment of the jaw. TMD may be caused by trauma, stress, bruxism, certain types of arthritis, and disc erosion and is often marked by pain and swelling around the jaw joint.

In a study published in the Journal of Orofacial Pain, it was found that 52 percent of patients with sleep apnea had mild to moderate TMD. The findings of this study have been compelling enough to prompt the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to begin studying sleep apnea as a temporomandibular disorder.

With this information, it is not surprising that both TMD and sleep apnea treatment are often treated with oral appliances. With both disorders these appliances are customized by a sleep apnea dentist to fit comfortably in the mouth during sleep, but there may be some slight differences.

Sleep apnea appliances generally angle the jaw to allow for proper airflow while TMD appliances will be created to retrain jaw muscles in their optimal alignment. However, if you are suffering from sleep apnea and TMD, your dentist may be able to customize an orthotic device that addresses both issues at the same time.

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of sleep apnea or TMD, please contact I Hate CPAP today to find a qualified physician in your area.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Can Yoga Help with Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when muscles in the throat over relax and block proper airflow during sleep. The practice of yoga, particularly the breathing exercises known as pranayama, may be effective at improving breathing capacity, toning and strengthening throat muscles, and helping reduce snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea.

In addition to pranayama exercises, the asanas, or physical yoga postures, have shown to help increase overall wellbeing by assisting in both relaxation and physical fitness. Because one of the risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea is obesity and physical inactivity, adopting a regular yoga practice could be used in conjunction with other treatment methods to help restore a restful night’s sleep.

In general, yoga alone will not cure sleep apnea, but may be an ideal type of behavioral therapy that can be combined with other sleep apnea treatments for a more holistic approach. The best way to learn what treatment or combination of treatments will work best for you is through a comprehensive evaluation with an experienced sleep apnea physician.

If you are suffering from sleep apnea and looking for an individualized treatment approach, please contact I Hate CPAP today to find a qualified physician in your area.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Symptoms of Infant Sleep Apnea

By and large, sleep disorders are experienced by adults. However, sleep apnea in children or even infants is not entirely uncommon. Sleep apnea is more prevalent in children born prematurely, but may also be caused by birth defects, bleeding in the brain, an imbalance in body chemistry, or heart problems.

The primary symptom of infant sleep apnea is breath cessation lasting for upwards of 20 seconds while sleeping. Many infants experience “periodic breathing” in which their breathing speed may fluctuate or breathing may cease for a few seconds while they sleep. While this may seem like sleep apnea, it is common and nothing at all to worry about.

You should discuss your child’s symptoms with a doctor if breath cessation occurs several times during sleep and is:

  • Longer than 15 seconds at a time
  • Accompanied by gagging or gasping for air
  • Turing your child blue or purple

These are signs of sleep apnea and need to be brought to the attention of a physician immediately. Sleep apnea can be fatal to infants, making it important to contact your doctor at its first symptoms.

If your infant is showing any of the signs of sleep apnea, please contact I Hate CPAP today to find a qualified physician in your area.