Category Archives: Sleep Apnea

Posts pertaining to sleep apnea, the condition that necessitates continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Why Sleep Apnea is Hurting Your Heart

Picture this: You are sound asleep, dreaming of a beach paradise, when all a suddenly your partner is shaking you awake. You look at them through bloodshot eyes, and they explain -for the tenth time that night- that you have been snoring. You nod sleepily, change your position, and go back to bed…only to get up that next morning to worship your coffee like a god because it is the only thing that will keep you awake that day.

Sound familiar? Well you are not alone! According to the American Sleep Apnea Association 22 Million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and the American Heart Association states that 1 in 5 adults suffer from, at the very least, mild sleep apnea. Evidence of this can be seen in a variety of ways, as you would know from previous posts. Symptoms range from daytime fatigue, insomnia, snoring in the night, headaches, mood swings, and more. For those of us who are used to no sleep, however, this can seem like not a big deal.

“So what if I’m always tired,” we tell ourselves. “Lack of sleep won’t kill me!” The only problem with this mentality is the less sleep you have the more certain science has become that it will, in fact, effect your heart.

The American College of Cardiology, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and even the American Heart Association have all linked sleep apnea with heart conditions. The AHA even states on their site that sleep apnea has been linked to arrhythmia, high blood pressure, stroke, and even heart failure. In fact, another study confirmed that male adults age 30-70 were at an extremely high risk of having a stroke or heart attack if they already had obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring in particular is a great sign you have obstructive sleep apnea, yet snoring is not your only problem. Central sleep apnea (which in my personal opinion is far harder to detect and is more damaging) rarely even presents itself through snoring. In fact, while obstructive sleep apnea is more common among over weight individuals, central sleep apnea can present itself in all shapes and sizes, which is a problem.

Experts agree that sleep apnea begets high blood pressure, and vise versa. It becomes a never-ending cycle of health problems and brings one closer to ever serious heart complications. Statics even show that 30-50% of adults with high blood pressure will have sleep apnea. With this news it can be overwhelming! It can almost feel like if you won the unlucky cosmic lottery and now if you have sleep apnea, or high blood pressure, you are doomed to have a lifetime of health problems along with a shorter lifespan which begs the question: What am I left to do?

The solutions may not be easy, but thankfully they are simple.

  1. Exercise

I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it! If I had a dime every time my physician told me I need to get physically active, I’d be rich…Unfortunately they are right.  Exercise is important for all aspects of your health and it is also very important for those with sleep apnea. Making sure you throw in cardio will also give you the double benefit of keeping your heart healthy, so get running!

  1. Limit Alcohol and Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

We all love our beer, but our beer does not love us. Same goes for that double-crossing coffee cup! If you are pulling a late night for work, or if you are wanting something to relax you when you get home from that same job you may want to reach for a cup of decaffeinated tea instead. It comes in a lot of great flavors, and chamomile may even give you the added benefit of helping you sleep later that night!

  1. Get a CPAP Machine

Out of all of these options, this may be the most important. CPAP machines, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines, really save lives by keeping you breathing at night and helping you stay asleep. The American College of Cardiology has even gone as far as to state that treatment lowers high blood pressure! You will need to talk to your doctor and schedule a sleep study, or take a home sleep test, which will let you know exactly what therapy is right for you. Once you have learned what type of sleep apnea you have and what type of machine you need, ask about what features you can get and determine what is right for you and your budget. And of course, those of us at Respshop.com are always here to help you with any questions you may have and can easily be reached at 866-936-3754.

 

It is almost a universal truth that sleep apnea is hard to live with. It makes us tired, it makes us cranky when we least expect it, and it can affect our health. However, it is manageable! Through proper life changes, open conversations with our doctors, and CPAPs we can take back control of our lives and our health. We can even make our hearts healthier one night’s sleep at a time.

Sleep Apnea & Women

There is one universal truth for every working woman: That alarm clock rings just way too early! Often, it seems, you can go through the day groggy, tired, and a little irritable at times. This appears to be normal, but when the third coffee cup just doesn’t seem to cut it many people are often left to wonder if this guise of “normal” really isn’t normal at all.

The simple answer, however, is nothing more than a suspicious maybe; The straight forward answer is a little more complicated than that.

For women especially, sleep apnea is hard to diagnose. Not only are symptoms often different than a man’s, but according to the National Sleep Foundation oftentimes sleep apnea for a woman is misdiagnosed. In fact, they have stated that 8-9 men per 1 woman were originally diagnosed, and while research is showing that gap is closing there are still women who are getting missed. Though these patients who fall through the gaps are facing more than just lack of sleep. Depression, complications in pregnancies and menopause, heart disease, diabetes, and even a shortened life span are all side effects of sleep apnea. So, what’s a lady to do?

Well, first, you can recognize the symptoms. As stated prior, sleep apnea is often quite different in women, so while a woman can have the traditional symptoms like snoring, often their symptoms are less pronounced. Symptoms to look for are:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Morning Headaches
  • Mood Disturbances
  • Restless Legs at Night
  • Depression
  • Lack of Energy
  • Light or even Subtle Snoring
  • Tiny Breaks in Breathing at Night

These symptoms can present themselves as many things, which is a leading reason for misdiagnosis,however, one should still remind their doctor not to rule out sleep apnea if you have one or multiple of these symptoms. sleep apnea is common with ¼ of women over 65 estimated to have this problem, and with 14% of them experiencing severe sleep apnea. Still, sleep apnea affects all ages so if you are having symptoms don’t wait to talk to your doctor.

So, you’re a woman and you think you might have sleep apnea. What now? In this case you would request a sleep study. If you’re short on time or can’t get your insurance to pay for one RespShop does offer our own sleep study for as low as $249. Sleep studies are crucial to understanding how severe your sleep apnea is, what type you have, and how to best combat it. If it is determined that you do, in fact, have sleep apnea you will be presented with a shiny new prescription and with this you can finally move on to your last step: Buying the right equipment!

What you need and what you should buy all depends on the aforementioned prescription. If you have central sleep apnea you will need a BiPAP/BiLevel machine. However, if you have the more common Obstructive sleep apnea a manual or Auto will be more appropriate, again depending on your prescription. However, if you have Obstructive sleep apnea and are a woman you are in luck.

The Airsense 10 Autoset for Her

Realizing the difference in Women’s sleep apnea, ResMed rose to the challenge of creating the first machines made specifically for women. This machine is one of the first such machines! The Airsense 10 Autoset for her uses a specialized algorithm that can detect an episode in a single breath. This allows the CPAP to adjust as needed to what you need that night! It also comes with an EPR feature- or Expiratory Pressure Relief- that allows the machine to adjust for comfortability! Other great features include the RAMP, Mask Fitting Feature, and Smart Start/Stop! Added to the ResMed AirView data sharing service, which is free with this machine, and you (and your doctor) will love how easy it is to get readings, adjust therapy, and get you sleeping like a baby again!

For Her Mask Line by ResMed

ResMed did not stop with the CPAP machine, they also completely revamped the mask sizing. Since sleep apnea was wrongly considered a “man’s disease” for many years sizing was, in most part, designed for men. Realizing the folly with this mindset ResMed got to work creating Full Face, Nasal, and Nasal pillow masks designed specifically for Women’s more petite facial features. Because of this, if you have ever had problem finding a mask that fit your face, we would highly recommend trying the For Her line.

Top Ten Reasons to Start Using CPAP Machine

Getting used to CPAP therapy isn’t easy for most people with sleep apnea. However, it’s better for your health in the long run. Here are 10 great reasons to start using your CPAP machine every night.

  1. Better Sleep: Once you’re used to it, you’ll find that wearing your CPAP mask to bed helps you wake up feeling more refreshed than ever.
  2. Healthier Heart: Using your CPAP machine helps to keep your blood pressure from spiking, which is healthier for your heart.
  3. Portable Devices: It used to be difficult to keep up with your CPAP therapy while traveling. But now, it’s easy to find portable CPAP machines so you can stick with your newly improved sleep routine.
  4. Happier Spouse: CPAP therapy usually eliminates the snoring associated with sleep apnea. While it might not have disturbed your sleep, you can bet that less snoring will make your partner much happier.
  5. Enhanced Libido: Speaking of happier partners, improved sexual function and satisfaction are tied to the deeper sleep you’ll get by sticking with your therapy routine.
  6. Reduced Health Concerns: When you don’t use your CPAP machine, you could be increasing your risk of developing serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and memory loss.
  7. More Mask Options: Today, there are more types of CPAP masks available, so if you don’t like the one you have, you can try something new to see if it’s a better fit.
  8. Diabetes Control: Many people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea, but consistent CPAP therapy has been linked to reduced insulin resistance and more stable blood glucose levels.
  9. Avoiding Surgery: If you prefer not to have surgery to treat your sleep apnea, it’s best to use your CPAP machine regularly.
  10. Improved Safety: Excessive daytime sleepiness could result in accidents while driving or working, so it’s safer to use CPAP therapy for better sleep.

Being consistent with your CPAP therapy is key for better overall health and happiness. If you’re having trouble sticking to your CPAP routine, consider trying a new type of mask or talking to your doctor about your options.

5 Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Millions of people currently struggle with sleep apnea. But what may be worse is that thousands more don’t know they have it. If you’re concerned about whether you have this sleep disorder, read about the five top signs that you may have sleep apnea below.

1. Loud Snoring
One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic and loud snoring, sometimes with gasps or choking occurring in between. In some cases, you might even experience short episodes of breathing cessation that you sleep through or which wake you up. Ask a spouse or family member if you snore; many people never hear themselves snore, so they don’t realize it’s an issue.

2. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
If you find yourself falling asleep during the day at inopportune moments, it’s cause for concern. Also called hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to a significant lack of energy during the day as well as an increased chance of mood swings, depression and irritability. If it feels like a struggle to stay awake while at work, sitting at the dinner table or even driving, be sure to talk to your doctor.

3. Attention Issues
Due to the sleep interruptions caused by sleep apnea, the condition is often associated with attention difficulties. It might seem hard to concentrate or learn new things, and your memory might seem hazier than usual. If this sounds familiar, sleep apnea could be the culprit.

4. Morning Dry Mouth or Sore Throat
People with untreated sleep apnea often wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth. Though it could be caused by other conditions, don’t rule out sleep apnea as a possibility.

5. Morning Headaches
Headaches are also common in the morning for those with sleep apnea. If this is a fairly regular issue for you, see a doctor.

Do you have any of these five symptoms? If so, talk to your doctor about being tested for sleep apnea.

CPAP and Sleep Apnea Mailbag

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

We’re back with our third edition of the CPAP and sleep apnea mailbag. We’ve had tremendous questions the first two times we ran this feature, and as long as they keep rolling in, we’re happy to answer more. Remember, if you want your question answered in a future edition of our mailbag, just send ’em on in to our email address at [email protected], with the subject heading ‘mailbag.’

On to the questions!

1. I snore a lot: what are the chances I have sleep apnea? — Victor, Los Angeles. 

Victor, it’s really tough to tell without a sleep study. Everybody snores to some extent, but sleep apnea is a specific, chronic condition where the snoring is both very loud and very frequent. It’s never a bad idea to speak with your physician about sleep apnea, or to take a sleep test, if you’re concerned. If you have friends and family that frequently tell you that you snore loudly — if you wake people with your snoring, or can be heard from another room, or if you’re choking at night — then I’d particularly encourage you to seek medical attention.

2. Is there any way to treat sleep apnea besides a CPAP machine? Abby, Twisp, WA.

There are no shortage of ways to treat sleep apnea! There are CPAP machines, nasal strips, jaw surgeries, chest implants, and several other means to combat the condition. For the most part, physicians and dentists recommend CPAP therapy for treating sleep apnea for two reasons: first, it’s a tried and proven method for successfully treating the condition; surgery sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. With proper and regular use, CPAP functions perfectly. Second, CPAP is much less obtrusive than many of the other methods. It’s much easier to wear a mask at night than to undergo chest surgery that may or may not alleviate the problem.

3. How can I tell what size mask I should buy? Bill, Blue Ash. 

Bill, you can access mask sizing gauges on nearly every single CPAP mask we carry on their individual page. For example, for the AirFit N10, click here, and hit the tab ‘sizing gauge’ to print out a sizing guide and see what size works best for you.

4. Can I use a travel machine as a full time machine? Lamar, Shreveport, LA.

Great question Lamar. Yes, all of our travel machines are durable enough for full time use. Each also comes with a multi-year warranty — the length of the warranty depends on the particular brand — so even if it does incur non-use related damage, it can be replaced. Machines are simply designated as ‘travel machines’ because they’re small and lightweight; they can be used regularly just like a normal machine.

5. Do I have to use a humidifier? Rhonda, Calera, AL. 

You do not. Humidifiers are simply a comfort feature that most people enjoy as a part of their therapy. They reduce some of the symptoms associated with CPAP — dry throat and dry mouth particularly — and we recommend that new patients use them, but they’re not essential.

Thanks for your questions this week folks! We’ll do it again real soon!