Monday, December 23, 2013

Childhood Sleep Apnea Linked to Later Behavior Issues, Study Says

The medical journal Pediatrics recently published a statistical analysis of childhood sleep patterns that indicated children as young as six months old who experience sleep apnea symptoms are at significant risk of exhibiting behavioral problems as they develop. If you think your child is suffering from a sleep disorder, it’s important to explore sleep apnea treatment sooner than later to encourage healthy growth.

Children need significantly more sleep than adults to stay alert and retain optimal health. By obstructing the airway and making sufferers wake up, however briefly, to catch their breath, apnea and other sleep disorders can interrupt your good night’s rest hundreds of times per night, depending on severity.

Kids with sleep apnea can suffer not only from the established health risks of the disorder but mental and emotional effects from insufficient sleep as well. The developmental impact of sleep apnea on children can manifest as:

  • Emotional imbalance
  • Difficulty coping with stress, possibly leading to frequent crying or temper tantrums
  • Short attention spans, impulsiveness and hyperactivity
  • Poor performance in school due to inability to concentrate, lack of engagement or unmanageable behavior
If any of these effects remind you of your child’s behavior, keep an eye out for sleep apnea symptoms such as:

  • Loud, persistent snoring (can occur in children as well as adults)
  • Tossing and turning in bed
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent nighttime urination (for children, this could mean bedwetting)
  • Difficulty waking up and getting out of bed for school or other activities
  • Stunted growth compared to peers
To find out more about sleep apnea treatments for children and adults, please contact a sleep doctor in your area or call 1-866-727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What Causes Snoring?

Most people think of snoring as an auditory nuisance, but it can pose a serious health risk to the sleeper if left untreated. If you snore, it’s important to talk to a physician specializing in sleep disorders who can examine your health and suggest snoring treatment options.

In terms of basic anatomy, snoring can occur when your airway becomes obstructed during sleep. The unpleasant sound that often accompanies snoring is actually an audible vibration emanating from the sleeper’s soft palate and uvula (respectively the soft tissue on the roof of the mouth and the punching bag-like structure at the back of the throat) as he/she struggles to inhale.

There are multiple reasons why your airway could be obstructed at night. Common causes of snoring include:

  • Consistently sleeping on your back
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Asthma, seasonal allergies and other disorders or conditions that inflame the bronchial tubes
  • Alcohol or tobacco use
  • Some prescription and over the counter medications, including sleep aids and cold or allergy drugs
  • Irregular structures in the airway, such as enlarged tonsils or a deviated septum
Heavy snoring can also be one of the early symptoms of sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that interrupts breathing (and, consequently, decreases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream) during sleep. Much like snoring, sleep apnea can result from blockage impeding the movement of breath in the airway.

There are a number of risk factors for developing sleep apnea, so it’s important to consult a sleep physician in your area right away to find out what’s making you snore and discuss potential treatments.

If you’re seeking a snoring treatment to ensure you and your housemates can enjoy a quiet night’s sleep, please contact a local sleep doctor or call 1-866-727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today to schedule your initial evaluation.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. If you’re seeking sleep apnea treatment and also suffer from high blood pressure, a sleep physician can help assess your condition and determine options for recovering your health and your rest.

Blood pressure measurements consist of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The systolic level measures blood pressure within arteries when the heart beats, while diastolic measures artery pressure when the heart is at rest. Blood pressure is defined as follows:
  • Systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80 (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg) is normal
  • 140-159 systolic or 80-89 diastolic is a warning sign of high blood pressure, also called prehypertension
  • Systolic over 140 mm Hg or diastolic over 100 mm Hg is considered high blood pressure, with higher measurements representing increased risk to your health
By obstructing breathing, sleep apnea can drastically reduce oxygen levels within the blood during sleep. In addition to putting stress on the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system, less oxygen in the blood also increases the risk of high blood pressure.

However, the fluctuation in oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea is just one element that can contribute to the risk of hypertension. Other risk factors include:
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption or smoking
  • Stress
  • Genetic predisposition to high blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
Because of the potential complications, it’s important to seek treatment for high blood pressure as soon as possible. Your doctor might recommend sleep apnea treatment, lifestyle changes or other options customized to the unique circumstances concerning your health.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a sleep doctor in your area or call 1-866-727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today to schedule an initial evaluation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FAA Hoping to Ground Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In an effort to keep fatigued flyers out of the cockpit, the Federal Aviation Administration is pursuing a new policy that will require obese pilots to undergo testing and, if applicable, treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obesity is one of the most common risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, and both conditions can represent a serious risk to your health. 

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI, a measurement comparing patient bodily mass to height and weight to determine body fat percentage) of 30 or higher. Patients suffering from obesity might also see the development of a “spare tire” or “pot belly” around the midsection. 

You might observe weight gain well before you notice sleep apnea symptoms, or even realize you’re suffering from a sleep disorder. In addition to increasing the risk of sleep apnea, obesity can lead to the development of a wide variety of other major health problems in multiple areas of the body, including:

  • Cardiovascular: Increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke
  • Liver: Fat buildup can cause inflammation and scarring
  • Mental/mood: Depression, stress about health and appearance, social anxiety
  • Sexual: Erectile dysfunction, fertility problems, impotence, etc.
  • Skin: Poor regeneration and prolonged healing time after injury
  • Serious illnesses: Increased risk of diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, etc.
Obstructive sleep apnea shares some of the same complications as obesity, making it extremely important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sleep apnea treatment your doctor recommends can vary based on the unique characteristics of your health, with possible options ranging from diet and exercise to an oral appliance that keeps your airway open and functional during sleep. 

If you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, please contact a qualified sleep physician in your area or call 1-866-727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today.