If you’re frequently tired during the day, just can’t focus at work, you’re not getting enough sleep. In fact, if you snore loudly, and wake up gasping for air, you may have a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
This condition places a great deal of stress on the body. Sleep is normally the time when our bodies repair themselves and secrete specific hormones which help to cleanse the entire system. Unfortunately, OSA effectively disrupts this normal cycle.
Sleep Apnoea 101
If you’re just learning about OSA, here are a few facts. OSA is defined as a condition associated with difficulty breathing during normal sleep cycles. The individual may snore loudly and there can be instances when he or she is suddenly roused due to the fact that breathing had temporarily stopped.
OSA is caused by an involuntary narrowing of the passages within the throat that normally supply the body with much-needed oxygen. While the mechanics of this condition are thoroughly understood, it is still surprising to learn about other illnesses which can be caused or exacerbated by OSA.
Let us take a look at some examples in order to highlight the dangers associated with OSA as well as why CPAP therapy could prove to be a useful at-home solution.
High Blood Pressure
It is thought that lower oxygen levels within the blood place a strain on the heart; causing it to pump faster when it would otherwise be resting. This is why individuals who already suffer from high blood pressure could see their condition worsen. In the same respect, anyone with relatively stable pressure can experience heightened systolic and diastolic rates.
Type 2 Diabetes
One of the most interesting observations involves the link between OSA and type 2 diabetes. In fact, research suggests that up to 80 per cent of those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may also suffer from OSA (1).
This arises from the fact that obesity tends to increase the chances of developing OSA. While some of the most intricate mechanics are not yet fully understood, it is known that irregular sleep cycles can have an impact upon the production of insulin within the body.
Therefore, it stands to reason that a cause-and-effect relationship likely exists. This is also why those who are classified as overweight should make it a point to enact lifestyle changes in order to avoid potentially serious consequences.
Unexplained Weight Gain
It has been shown that those who are overweight are more likely to develop OSA. It has even been found that up to half of all individuals who have been diagnosed with OSA are also considered to have an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Fat will tend to accumulate around the neck and throat. In turn, this makes it more difficult to breathe when resting (2).
Let us also not fail to mention that a lack of sleep can affect some of the hormones related to appetite. It also leads to lethargy during the day and a proclivity for resting as opposed to engaging in physical activities. This can result in a vicious cycle.
Those with OSA will find it more difficult to remain active and therefore, the chances of gaining more weight (not obtaining enough sleep) both increase. The good news is that losing even 10 per cent of one’s total body weight can improve the symptoms associated with OSA.
We are already aware that OSA inhibits the ability of the body to intake oxygen through normal respiration. This places a great deal of strain on the heart, as it is forced to pump faster (as mentioned within the section on high blood pressure).
Continually waking up throughout the night is also thought to play a significant role. This can lead to atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and the onset of heart disease at a relatively young age. The chances of suffering from a heart attack are also much more significant when compared with those who are able to obtain a sound night of rest.
There is a tentative link between asthma and OSA. As both are related to the narrowing of the bronchial tubes, it only stands to reason that those who have been diagnosed with one of these conditions could very well be suffer from the other. It has also been shown that those who are able to reduce the severity and duration of OSA could benefit from fewer asthma attacks.
Car Accidents and Similar Injuries
Those who are consistently tired throughout the day due to a lack of sleep are much more likely to become involved in car accidents and similarly life-threatening situations. Individuals suffer from lower levels of concentration and longer response times, so reacting to situations becomes difficult.
It is also thought that mental processing can become impaired. This may lead to instances such as improperly judging the distance between two vehicles or forgetting to lock the emergency brake of a forklift in place. The good news is that these and similar situations can be avoided by those who are able to address OSA.
Acid Reflux Disease
There is some evidence which suggest that Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and OSA are linked. It is surmised that OSA changes the pressure within the airways; allowing acids to exit the stomach and to enter into the oesophagus (3).
Interestingly enough, GERD may also lead to OSA. Acids which enter into the throat can cause the vocal chords to spasm. In turn, choking and difficulty breathing may result. While more research needs to be carried out, many scientists believe that there is a relation ship between these two conditions.
Sleep is absolutely vital in terms of our mental health. We are all aware that improper sleep can lead to feelings of tiredness and irritability throughout the day. However, OSA will also impact the secretion of several important hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotinin and melatonin.
These natural hormones help our bodies to heal and they will influence our emotional state.
Those who suffer from OSA are therefore much more likely to experience mental problems such as anxiety, depression, sadness, and a lack of overall motivation. This is the very same reason why treating OSA could be an integral step towards a more positive mental attitude.
What Treatment Options Exist?
As we can see from the conditions mentioned above, obstructive sleep apnoea is no laughing matter and it needs to be taken quite seriously. The first step is to determine whether or not you suffer from OSA. The good news is that there are many at-home testing solutions which are highly reliable. Assuming that a problem has been detected, one method involves CPAP therapy.
CPAP is an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure. This treatment consists of a mask and a nose piece to provide constant pressure to the individual during sleep. In turn, it is much less likely that OSA will occur and if it does, the associated symptoms are normally reduced. These machines are highly reliable and most will not find them overly uncomfortable.
Still, the most important step is to discover if you are suffering from OSA. This is when it is often wise to employ the at-home equipment that can be ordered through SleepTest.
If you have had breathing difficulties when sleeping and if you suspect that OSA might be a potential cause, it is prudent to order the Intus In-Home Sleep Test today. https://www.sleeptest.co.uk/product/in-home-sleep-test/
To shop for the highest-quality selection of CPAP devices: https://www.cpap.co.uk/shop.html
You can also contact a professional at SleepTest to address an additional questions or concerns that may be present. Obtaining quality sleep should never be viewed as a luxury. Thankfully, effective solutions and improved health could be closer than you imagine.