Monthly Archives: August 2017

How Snoring is linked to Sleep Apnea

Although your snoring leads to many sleepless nights for your sleep partner and has made you the butt of many jokes, snoring is no joking matter. According to SleepApnea.org, snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea — a potentially serious sleep disorder in which one’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly throughout the night. Breathing pauses can last several seconds and in severe cases, breathing pauses can occur 30 times or more an hour. Approximately 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.

The most common form of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); a condition in which the muscle in the back of the throat collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. As your brain receives the signal that something is amiss, it partially awakens to alert your body that it needs to breathe. This is what causes the loud gasping, choking or snorting sounds someone makes as they try to take a deep enough breathe to fight past the obstruction. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

I snore; does that mean I have sleep apnea?

Not necessarily. While most people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea snore, not all those who snore have sleep apnea. Snoring alone isn’t considered an indicator that you have sleep apnea. Other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Intermittent pauses in your breathing as you sleep that’s noticed by your partner
  • Feeling depressed or having mood swings
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up

There are several reasons unrelated to sleep apnea that can cause snoring. These include:

  • Being overweight: people who are overweight may have extra tissue in the back of their throat.
  • Physical characteristics: nasal polyps, deviated septum and enlarged adenoids.
  • Sinus and nasal congestion due to a cold, upper respiratory infection or allergies.
  • Alcohol consumption: alcohol relaxes the throat muscles.
  • Sleep position: sleeping on your back can cause the flesh in your throat to relax, leading to a blocked airway.

If you are concerned about your snoring, seek the advice of your doctor. He or she will be able to assess your symptoms and rule out whether or not you may have sleep apnea. If your doctor suspects you do, you’ll be advised to undergo a sleep study. Although being diagnosed with sleep apnea sounds scary, the good news is that treatment is available. Lifestyle changes and breathing devices, such as CPAP machines, have all been proven to be successful.

Tips for Travelling with CPAP

You’ve finally gotten the hang of using your CPAP machine and wearing your CPAP mask, when an unsettling thought suddenly strikes: “How the heck am I going to travel with my CPAP machine?” This is one of the most common questions asked by sleep apnea patients, and fortunately, one that can be answered with many helpful tips. Whether you travel a little or a lot, when you follow our tips for traveling with your CPAP machine, you’ll find that leaving town or the country with your machine and equipment in tow isn’t as bad as it seems.

Carry-on Only

Never pack your CPAP machine and accessories in your checked luggage; always pack it in your carry-on bag. This eliminates the risk of never seeing it again if your bag gets lost. Did you know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, carrying your CPAP machine in its traveling case isn’t considered carry-on luggage, and therefore, doesn’t count towards your carry-on quota?

Bring a Doctor’s Note

Getting valid documentation from your doctor stating that you require traveling with a CPAP machine can help things run smoothly through the security line should a problem arise. It’s also wise to label your CPAP case with a medical equipment luggage tag. Ask your doctor to also give you a copy of your prescription for the machine in the event that it gets lost and you need to replace it or you need additional supplies.

Keep it Germ-Free

Place your machine and accessories in a clear, plastic bag to protect them from germs and bacteria when going through the x-ray machine. If your machine must be inspected by an agent, ask that the agent put on a fresh pair of sterile gloves before handling it to protect the hygiene of your machine. Or, you can take the SoClean 2 Go machine with you and clean your CPAP everyday, if you have extended travel plan.

Invest in Travel Size: If you’re a frequent traveler, investing in a travel CPAP machine is the lightweight, compact way to go. They take up less space in your weekend tote or carry-on bag.

Pack Accessories and Extras: Bring a battery backup in case you lose power or you’re somewhere where there’s no access to electricity or an outlet. The battery pack also comes in handy when you are on a long-haul flight and plan on sleeping. If you’re traveling internationally, check to see that your machine comes with a universal power supply that supports a range of voltages. If not, bring a voltage adapter.

As a final note, it’s always best to check with your airline carrier well in advance to learn about their policy for carrying a CPAP machine.