Tired all day? Snoring all night? These are classic symptoms of sleep apnea. Snoring isn’t a symptom to be embarrassed about, but if you aren’t feeling as energetic or productive during the day as you should, it is a symptom you need to discuss with your healthcare provider. More than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea, and while it can affect anyone at any age, it is more likely to affect men and more likely to affect those over 40. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can increase the risk of other health problems. Men with sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times, causing the brain and the rest of the body to potentially not get enough oxygen. Learn the risk factors, symptoms, and solutions for sleep apnea. See how Men’s Best wants to help you breathe easier.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but certain factors increase your risk. Factors that increase your risk for sleep apnea include being male, being over 40, being overweight, having a neck circumference larger than 17 inches, having a family history of sleep apnea, having a narrowed airway, or having a nasal obstruction.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea isn’t just snoring. While one of the most common signs of sleep apnea is chronic snoring, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, and it isn’t the only symptom. Sleep apnea has a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms of sleep apnea include difficulty staying asleep, gasping for air during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, and a morning headache. But sleep apnea symptoms extend far beyond just those that affect you in bed. Because people with sleep apnea are often sleep-deprived, they also exhibit daytime symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, memory difficulties, and falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of sleep apnea, or if you have any sleep problems that leave you feeling fatigued and irritable. If left untreated, symptoms of sleep apnea can progress to high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, or depression.
What is the best solution for sleep apnea?
The solutions for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP), other airway pressure devices, and oral appliances.
Solutions for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a treatable condition. If you think you have sleep apnea, the first thing to do is to see your healthcare provider. Your provider may suggest a sleep study, which is the most common method used to diagnose sleep apnea. The sleep study is a multiple-component test that can both diagnose sleep apnea and determine its severity. The sleep study monitors sleep state, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, airflow, and blood oxygen levels. Once completed, your sleep study will help your healthcare provider determine the best treatment option.
For milder cases of sleep apnea, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, or sleeping on their side.
For those who are suffering from moderate to severe sleep apnea, the treatment of choice is generally a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that you wear over your nose and mouth while you sleep that delivers a constant flow of air into your airway. This airflow helps keep your airway open during sleep so you can breathe. For people with sleep apnea, the health benefits of CPAP can be enormous, but only if used correctly and worn whenever they sleep.
While CPAP is the most common treatment, there are other airway pressure devices, including BPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure), which is similar to CPAP, but the airflow changes when you breathe in and out.
Don’t let sleep apnea take your breath away. At Men’s Best, we know that getting adequate sleep is essential to maintaining health. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, leading to heart disease, changes in mood, and memory problems, as well as increasing the risk of drowsy driving. See for yourself how Men’s Best Primary Care is a one-stop-shop for men’s healthcare. Find a location to get started.
- Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women.
- More than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can increase the risk of other health problems.
- Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, leading to heart disease, changes in mood, and memory problems, as well as increasing the risk of drowsy driving.
- If left untreated, symptoms of sleep apnea can progress to high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, or depression.