Is loud, snoring getting you kicked out of the bedroom? You might be suffering from sleep apnea, a serious condition in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The interruptions occur often, sometimes hundreds of times, depriving the brain and body of oxygen.
How common is this condition? More than 18 million adults have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This disorder can occur at any age, but those at higher risk include middle or older age men, postmenopausal women and overweight people.
Sleep apnea can cause hypertension, increased risk of stroke, diabetes and depression. If left it can lead to poor performance in everyday activities, such as work and school and even cause motor vehicle accidents.
If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, you may need to see a doctor for treatment. For more detailed information on symptoms and treatment of this disorder, consult Vitals Patient Guide on Sleep Apnea.
Lifestyle changes can help minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea. Here are some tips to help reduce its severity.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco smoking causes upper airway edema or swelling which leads to more snoring and apnea. Consider a smoking cessation program.
- Abstain from alcohol
- Avoid sleeping pills. Sedatives have been found to worsen the apnea
- Change sleeping habits. Alter the position for sleeping and don’t sleep on the back. Raise the head of the bed by 4-6 inches. There are pillows designed to keep your head stay in the proper position during sleep.
- Lose weight. Research confirms that weight excess increases the frequency per hour that apnea occurs and that airflow to lungs is curtailed.