Want another reason for eating right, exercising and staying fit? An active lifestyle, nutritionally motivated eating, and a healthy weight are excellent ways to avoid sleep apnea that is caused by obesity.
Do you wake up feeling rested or do you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all? Or perhaps experience day time sleepiness more than you used to? Or you wake up with headaches? You could be experiencing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is dangerous to you and to others.
Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders that result in moments of not breathing result in hypoxia. Hypoxia is decreased oxygen in the blood and this has been implicated in many health issues.
In this blog I will discuss risk factors, symptoms and treatment options for this condition.
Since we want to live long healthy lives- there are a few things we need to know about risk factors associated with developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea risk factors include:
1. Obesity (BMI greater than 30).
2. Neck circumference greater than 17” for males and 16” for females.
3. Gender: more common in males than females (pre-menopausal).
4. Upper airway crowding: small lower jaw, enlarged tonsils, large tongue.
Sleep apnea symptoms include:
1. Daytime sleepiness.
2. Morning headaches.
3. Excessive snoring.
4. Frequent nighttime awakenings .
5. Difficulty learning or with memory and concentration.
6. Elevated blood pressure.
What causes sleep apnea?
Most simply put, sleep apnea is the result of physical obstruction of the upper airway that interferes with breathing.
Complications of sleep apnea
There are many complications that sleep apnea can cause. Sleep apnea can result in hypoxia (low blood oxygen), fatigue, daytime sleepiness, difficulty with learning and concentration and has been implicated in difficult to treat diabetes and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea affects you, your spouse and others. It may cause or worsen health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. It can affect your work performance as you are not able to focus and produce the quality work that is necessary. OSA can affect your spouse as your snoring and worry result in decreased sleep quality. Your daytime sleepiness can put others at risk if you drive! Many car accidents are a result of the driver falling asleep.
Evaluation by your primary care provider is your first step. They may prescribe a sleep study and if those results are positive, a machine that helps keep your airway open with air pressure will be recommended. The most important action for you to take if you are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is to USE the machine. You should use the machine a minimum of 4 hours per night to get the most benefit.
They may prescribe weight loss, and I can help you with that. My book will help discover the activity plan and eating plan that is best for you.
There are medicines that can also help with this disorder if you meet certain criteria.
There are also dental devices that have shown to improve OSA.
The most radical would be a surgical option. All of these treatments should be discussed with your primary care provider or specialist as needed.
Prevention to reduce your risk for obstructive sleep apnea :
Prevention of the modifiable risk factor of obesity is one of the easiest risk factors to improve. Attaining or maintaining a healthy body weight, which in turn will decrease your neck circumference is one of the most effective measures to take.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise. Intentional exercise every day if possible for at least 30 to 45 minutes!
I can assist you in your journey to health and fitness. This may be a lifesaving action that you take. Cirrhosis cannot be cured. Don’t take your chances with your liver! Maintain a healthy weight, and be intentionally active.
Purchase my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.
Categories: fitness and health