Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Take Your Breath Away

Share Button

This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

sleepThere are some moments in life that take your breath away, but if those moments are happening while you’re asleep, it might be time to see a sleep expert, according to a sleep specialist at Baylor College of Medicine.

“Sleep apnea is caused by a narrowing or complete collapse of the upper airway that occurs in some people while they are sleeping, and this can affect one’s ability to get oxygen to the body, making the body work harder to breathe,” said Dr. Fidaa Shaib, associate professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Baylor and director of the Baylor Sleep Center. “This results in a brief arousal period, sometimes just three seconds, where the brain wakes up and the airway opens to restore breathing. For those with sleep apnea, this will happen several times throughout the night.”

Many people with sleep apnea are not aware of the number of times they are waking up briefly throughout the night. However, this sleep disruption causes them not to feel refreshed or rested when they wake up in the morning.

“It’s almost as if someone is waking you up every 10 seconds to breathe and then you go back to sleep,” said Shaib.

Symptoms

Sleep apnea is associated with multiple health issues including heart problems, high blood pressure, risk for stroke, poor diabetes control and weight gain. Common symptoms include snoring, stopping breathing and choking or gasping for air that is reported by the bed partner. Other common symptoms are not feeling refreshed in the morning or feeling tired throughout the day. Other signs that could indicate sleep apnea include restless sleep, waking up multiple times to use the bathroom, excessive sweating at night and heartburn or reflux.

“It’s important to note that women with sleep apnea may show symptoms of snoring and difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep,” said Shaib. “Their presentation is different from men, whose symptoms are usually snoring and feeling tired throughout the day.”

Risk factors and diagnosis

Risk factors of sleep apnea are obesity and anatomy, meaning that one’s facial structure may cause them to be at more risk for sleep apnea. People with nasal congestion, allergies or who are on pain medications or sleeping pills may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.

A diagnosis of sleep apnea is made through a sleep study. Most patients will have to stay overnight at a sleep center where they are monitored for brain activity, breathing, oxygen levels, heart activity and movement. The sleep study gives a summary of a person’s sleep and experts identify those periods where there is narrowing of airways and oxygen levels are low. Some patients may also qualify for an at-home sleep test if most of their symptoms point toward sleep apnea and no other sleep issue.

Treatment

Once a diagnosis is made, the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine remains the best treatment for sleep apnea. The machine works by gently blowing air into the windpipe to keep the airway open.

“The technology for CPAP machines has advanced and the treatment is usually very well tolerated in patients,” said Shaib.

After starting the use of the CPAP machine, which must be used every night, people usually have improved sleep quality, feel more refreshed in the morning and have better daytime function as well as better memory during the day. Patients also see benefits in blood pressure control and a lower risk of heart problems.

If patients do not tolerate the CPAP machine, other treatment options can include a custom made oral appliance or surgery.

Weight loss, behavioral modifications and treating allergies usually also helps treatment of sleep apnea.

“Some patients only have sleep apnea when they sleep on their backs, so another treatment option is to use maneuvers and techniques to help the patient stay off their back,” said Shaib.

Shaib notes that young children (3-6 years) are at risk for sleep apnea, especially when they have big tonsils and big adenoids. Older children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are also at risk. Symptoms in children include loud snoring and sleeping with their mouth open. However, rather than feeling tired during the day, children with sleep apnea are usually hyperactive during the day and can have difficulty in school. Bed wetting also can indicate the potential for sleep apnea. It’s important to consult with a pediatric sleep expert if these signs are seen in children.

There is a spectrum of response from treatment of sleep apnea, Shaib said. Some people say that using the CPAP machine is life changing, making them feel refreshed throughout the day. Others may not feel as dramatic of an effect, but are still benefitting from the decreased health impacts, such as high blood pressure or risk for heart problems.

6 Ways A Hug A Day Keeps Illness Away

Share Button

By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

friendsNew research suggests that prevention of infections and reducing stress-related illness might be as simple as a hug from a trusted person. The findings of this latest research were published in Psychological Science. It found that the physical act of hugging is associated with protection from the effects of depression and anxiety, as well as lessening the number of stress-induced infections and severe illness symptoms.

The research team studied hugging as an example of social support, because hugs are typically a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person. People who have ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses and infection. The interesting fact is what hugging represents to the participants. They stated that hugging made them feel more connected, more supported, more validated and intimate with the hugger, which had a direct effect on their immune system. The researchers went on to say that those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.
(http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/27704132/six-ways-a-hug-a-day-keeps-illness-away).

If you’ve decided that this is your year to be on a health kick, in addition to watching your diet and exercising, you may want to add hugging to your list of daily activities.

Here are six ways to protect your health and relationships with hugs:

1. Studies show people who are hugged regularly by their close friends and family have reduced blood pressure, lower heart rates and feel more connected to one another.

2. People who are contented in their marriages report frequent hugging and non-sexual touching.

3. Couples who report hugging or cuddling frequently also report feeling more emotionally connected to their partner. They also reported feeling more secure than non-hugging/minimal-touch couples.

4. Ten minutes of hand-holding or hugging greatly reduced couples’ reported stress and the harmful effects of stress on their body.

5. The release of oxytocin in the body from hugging helps foster a healthy immune system.

6. Children who grow up watching their parents hug feel more secure and perform better in school.

As you begin the new year, don’t forget the most important gift you can give all year round, the gift of belonging, being valued and being emotionally connected to your loved ones. Something as simple as a hug can provide those feelings and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at maryjorapini.com.

Blown Away By 35.7 %

Share Button

By Kac Young PhD, DCH, ND

scaleThe American Medical Association just released a statement that 35.7% of Americans are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity has been declared a disease by the AMA. However this declaration is hotly debated. Obesity-related conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. If it’s preventable, then why is it classified as a disease?

Dr Russell Kridel argues, “It’s more like smoking. Smoking isn’t a disease. Smoking can cause disease such as lung cancer and emphysema in the same way that obesity can lead to diabetes and hypertension. What we’re really talking about here is nomenclature, not philosophy.”

He noted that behavior and dietary choices play a huge part in obesity. “Thirty years ago, we did not have the obesity problem we have now. If you look scientifically at what has changed, our diet has changed. There’s been no change in our genetic structure in the past 30 years.”

“The American Heart Association believes the additional focus is needed on this important risk factor for heart disease and stroke.” The AHA wants to open people’s eyes to the severity of the issues (one in every two deaths is caused by heart disease – which is 90 % preventable) and to demonstrate to people that they possess the power to make decisions which improve heart health and cardio strength.

Whether you believe obesity is a disease or not, consider this: the power to prevent it is in your hands. Obesity is preventable.

Whether you believe obesity is a disease or not, consider this: the power to prevent it is in your hands. Obesity is preventable. You don’t have to take pills, prescriptions or appetite inhibitors; what you have to do is control what you eat and how much physical exercise you do. If you eat whole grains, fat-free foods, fruits, vegetables, legumes and delete red meat, fried foods, and the bad saturated fats and start walking 30 minutes a day, you will be on the right track towards preventing obesity and all its related diseases. www.HeartEasy.com has information and tips for you about eating and exercise.

Each one of us can choose between a cheese-laden burger and a salad, just as we can choose to buy black shoes or brown. If you’re not making the right choices to support your heart health and stave off obesity, then perhaps you don’t have the right information. With the facts available at the click of a mouse it’s hard to believe someone doesn’t have access to healthy eating information, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and start spreading the word. Take action! Let’s not allow people to die of obesity-related diseases when they can live healthier, happier, longer lives by choosing to eat healthier and by exercising.

What can you do in your community to spread the word about healthy eating? Can you create a health day at school, church or at your community gatherings? What about teaming up with a local nutritionist to teach kids and families how to create healthy meals? Can you make a game of it? Can you create a fund raiser? Can you reach out to lower economic groups and share the wealth of healthy eating knowledge? Can you plant a garden, raise awareness and invite local growers to talk about the value of fresh produce? Start today. Get a group together. Brainstorm ways you can affect your community’s health for the better. You may actually save some lives and how great would that feel?

Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by traditional recipes that have been turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make and everyone will love.