Friday, August 22, 2014

6 Keys to Managing High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a known symptom of sleep apnea. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine this month published a study that discovered the risk to the heart could be even greater, with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increasing the likelihood of resistant high blood pressure.

Resistant hypertension is elevated blood pressure that doesn’t respond to treatment with medication, sometimes multiple prescriptions simultaneously. In some cases blood pressure resists treatment due to an underlying condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Seeking sleep apnea treatment could be a critical step for making your blood pressure more manageable. Some lifestyle changes are also an effective solution for both OSA and hypertension, including: 

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products – ask your doctor about the DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
  • Reducing the amount of salt and saturated fats you consume
  • Exercising regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Losing excess weight
Even minor weight loss has been linked to a drastic reduction in the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. By shedding extra pounds, you can limit the interference of oversized structures blocking the airway during sleep as well as improve your overall health, including lowering blood pressure.

To learn more about symptoms and treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea, please contact a local sleep doctor or call 1 (866) 727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today.

Friday, August 15, 2014

What to Expect During a Sleep Study

With the recent release of new diagnostic criteria for sleep apnea, doctors at the American College of Physicians are reaffirming the importance of an overnight sleep study to find evidence of this potentially fatal condition. Though there is an abundance of information on sleep apnea on the Web and elsewhere, the best way to find out whether you suffer from the disorder is an overnight sleep study.

A sleep study measures your quality of sleep and how your body responds to changes while you rest. The study will take place overnight in a lab outfitted with equipment used to monitor sleep patterns in patients who might suffer from apnea or other sleep disorders.

Before you go to sleep, a technician will place special sensors on your head, face, chest, and arms. While you sleep, the sensors will measure bodily signs like:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Blood oxygen level
  • Activity in the brain, eyes, and muscles
Known medically as a polysomnogram, sleep studies are painless. The doctors and technicians at the lab will try to make you as comfortable as possible to get an accurate picture of symptoms you might be experiencing.

If you regularly experience episodes of daytime sleepiness or your spouse has complained about your chronic snoring, undergoing an overnight sleep study could be the first step toward better health. Please contact a local sleep doctor or call 1 (866) 727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) for more information on sleep apnea.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What Causes Daytime Sleepiness?

Revised guidelines published recently in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” medical journal discuss new diagnostic criteria for determining whether or not a patient experiencing daytime fatigue is suffering from sleep apnea. If you often suffer from drowsiness or other sleep apnea symptoms, it’s crucial to seek treatment sooner than later.

You might experience insufficient or poor quality sleep from time to time due to any number of lifestyle factors. Stress, excessive caffeine, and certain medications can disturb your sleep cycle and make you feel tired all day even if you got eight hours of shuteye.

However, persistent daytime fatigue could signify a serious health issue. Sleep apnea is one potential cause of chronic sleepiness, but other possibilities include: 

  • Diabetes
  • Migraine headache
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Excess calcium in the bloodstream (hypercalcemia)
  • Low sodium levels (hyponatremia)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
Some of these conditions will require medical intervention to help you recover your overall health and good night’s rest. A qualified physician can evaluate you for fatigue and other symptoms to determine whether or not you’re suffering from sleep apnea or another disorder.  

If you frequently suffer from tiredness during the day or you feel that the quality of your sleep has lapsed, please contact a local sleep doctor or call 1 (866) 727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today to schedule an evaluation.

Friday, August 1, 2014

COPD and Sleep Apnea Pose Double Threat to the Heart

Though some of the most extreme complications of sleep apnea affect the heart, a disorder of the lungs can elevate the risk of cardiovascular problems even more. Studies show that roughly 10% to 20% of patients with sleep apnea also suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is a chronic respiratory condition that causes breathing difficulties. In most cases the disorder is caused by inhaling harmful fumes or air particles, especially tobacco smoke. Symptoms of COPD include: 

  • Persistent cough, sometimes accompanied by mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tight feeling in the chest
  • Greater susceptibility to pneumonia, bronchitis, and other lung infections
Similar to sleep apnea, COPD interrupts breathing. This causes the heart and other parts of the body to be deprived of essential oxygen. Thus, the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and other serious health issues is compounded when a patient suffers from both COPD and sleep apnea.

COPD is irreversible but the symptoms are manageable. Likewise, sleep apnea treatments can offset the negative impact on the body. Restoring healthy breathing is critical, as better breathing means more oxygen reaches the heart.

To learn more about COPD, sleep apnea, and prospective treatment options, please contact an experienced physician or call 1 (866) 727-6275 (1-8-NO-PAP-MASK) today.