Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition, in which an individual suffers from muscle and joint pain. The condition is pretty common through the world, and is most found in women than men.

The symptoms of the condition include ache in different parts of the body,, tiredness, muscle soreness, the kind of feeling you have after you workout. When suffering from Fibromyalgia, you will feel like you have pulled or overworked your muscles.

A lot of people suffering from Fibromyalgia complain achiness and pain in shoulder joints, neck hips and back

 

How are Fibromyalgia and Sleep Related?

People suffering from Fibromyalgia often have sleep disturbances. The constant pain causes them to wake up during the night. In fact, sleep disturbances is also one of the most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

There are different stages of sleep. When a person falls asleep he or she is most likely to move from one stage to another every 80 to 90 minutes. To be exact, there are usually 5 stages of sleep, with 3th and 4th stage as the deepest. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is considered as the deepest phase of sleep. This is when an individual starts dreaming and it is the same stage when our body recovers and releases growth hormones.

According to several studies, people suffering from Fibromyalgia are not able to achieve the deepest stages (the 3rd and 4th stage) of sleep., as a result of that they are easily awakened during the night. Since these individuals find it difficult to get to the REM sleep, the recovery process barely takes place, which is the reason why they experience constant joint and muscle pain.

 

Fibromyalgia Treatment

There are several ways to treat Fibromyalgia but the most common amongst them is the use of Painkillers and Anti-depressants. Ask your doctor to prescribe you the med that best suit your condition.

 

Conclusion

Taking meds can really help bring down the pain and stress level, which will eventually help in getting a good night’s sleep.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Feeling sleepy during daytime occasionally is pretty normal but if the need of daytime sleep is much frequent, it can hinder a person’s work and daily life routine. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), also known as Narcolepsy is a neurological disease in which a person feels a repetitive need to sleep during day time. It also includes tiredness, drowsiness, energy deficiency and idleness.

People suffering from EDS can face a tough time fighting off the impulsion to take a nap during daytime. The urge to fall asleep can disturb them while working, driving, meetings or even during meal times. This in turn directly affects the performance of individuals and causes them to slow down their activities. It can directly affect the social and personal life of an individual and it is a disorder that needs to be cured instantly.

Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness can be caused as a result of various physical conditions or it could simply be a tough work schedule that does not allow sufficient sleep. Ultimately, the end result is a never ending craving for sleep during day time. Some of the common causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness are as follows:

Bad sleeping schedule

People who do not follow a proper sleeping schedule are likely to be hit by EDS. Those who sleep late in the day may not feel the urge to sleep during the night time. This can cause a disturbed sleeping scheduled and as a result the compulsion to sleep disrupts day time activities.

Idleness

Lack of energy and idleness is also one of the causes of Nacrolepsy. People who are free or less occupied with mental or physical activities can fall to Nacrolepsy as their brain does not exercise enough to maintain mental sharpness. Lack of physical activities majorly contributes to sleep urge. This is one reason that fat people are mostly hit by this sleep disorder.

Unhealthy Eating Schedule

People who do not follow a proper diet schedule tend to eat at different times of the day. Some meals have the tendency to restrain from sleeping. Having such meals at late hours of the day can disturb the sleeping schedule of an individual

Apart from the above mentioned causes, there are other medical problems associated with EDS. These problems include Idiopathic hypersomnia, breath related sleep disorders behavioral sleep disorders and psychiatric conditions.

Symptoms of Excessive Sleep Disorder

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness has a number of obvious symptoms. Some useful tools have been developed to diagnose complex symptoms. Some of the symptoms of EDS are given below:

  • A person may feel idleness or dormancy during the daytime.
  • Feeling of depression or stress
  • Individuals suffering from EDS are likely to cut off their social activities and move into isolation.
  • Dropping professional or educational performance due to inattentiveness to work.

Treatment for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Therapists and doctors suggest numerous ways to get rid of EDS. Tools such as Multiple Sleep Latency Testor Epworth Sleepiness Scalehelp in diagnosing EDS. There are other physical and medical treatments for the problem. Some of them are given below:

  • Proper sleep schedule can greatly help EDS patients.
  • Adequate meal timings can allow building a proper sleep plan.
  • It is important to go to bed only when there is an intense urge of sleeping. Trying to sleep without this urge can lead to a sleepless night.
  • Exercising is an important tool to counter EDS as it keeps the brain sharp during day time which ultimately causes it to tire during the night. This helps sleep better at night.
  • Medications such as Dextroamphetamine, Metamphetamine and Modafinil etc. can also be used following a prescription from a medical consultant.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a common sleeping disorder which can affect individuals of all ages. However, diagnosis and treatment of EDS is much convenient which cannot only help patients recover from the disease but also help them improve their professional performance.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives. Isn’t our bed the only thing we can think of after a tiring day? Unfortunately, sleep disorders are a common thing now, and they are never good for anyone. A sleep deprived person cannot function properly and falls behind in social life and work. The exact aim of this article is to explore the cause and treatments of a common sleep disorder: Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).

The Science Behind Sleep

But first, let’s just make sure we know the science behind our sleep cycles. The basic concept revolves around the natural clock in our body, which keep the brain informed of the time of the day, so it knows when it’s time to sleep or wake up.

The natural clocks of DSPS patients are slow to respond to time changes such as nightfall and sunrise, which causes disruption in sleep patterns.

Symptoms of DSPS

The symptoms associated with DSPS are:

  • Unconventional sleeping times: DSPS patients normally are not able to sleep and wake up at the socially acceptable times. They sleep late into the night (usually about the same time) and wake up around noon. This often causes problems in keeping up with routine matters.
  • Difficulty in waking up in the morning: As expected, patients find it very hard to get up at the ‘right’ time. Trying to change one’s sleep schedule simply worsens the situation. Although it is easy for DSPS patients to maintain a comfortable sleep.
  • Tiredness and fatigue: Lack of sleep means that a person feels tired pretty much all the time. Patients often tend to experience midday sleeping spells and be labeled as lazy.
  • Depression and other associated symptoms: These are all indirect symptoms of DSPS. Sleep deprivation can cause depression, mood swings and decreased attention.

So if you feel that any of these are your problems, it is recommended that you visit an expert for professional guidance.

Treatments

Before getting into treatments, first you need to accept the fact that you have a sleep disorder. Gather your courage, and get ready to fight.

The professional advice is to settle into your natural sleep cycle before treatment. This helps you get rid of all the fatigue and start with a fresh mind. Listed below are the various solutions for DSPS.

  • Light therapy: This therapy works by exposing them to bright light a little before the time they usually wake up. The extra light can help the natural system reach the desired state.
  • Darkness therapy: Quite similarly, reducing light intensity as night time approaches helps to shift the sleeping time backwards. Usually patients are advised to take precaution such as using eye-wear to simulate darkness and avoid having unnecessary light sources such as computers in their surroundings after sunset.
  • Changing in sleep timings: This treatment involves shifting a patient’s sleep time; either earlier or later than their usual one. The time at which the patient sleeps is gradually shifted each night until the right time is reached. This is a slow technique though.
  • Medication: Medication that induces sleep is also available for DSPS. However, they can also have undesirable side effects, so always consult a specialist before taking them.

These were the common treatments for DSPS. If you ever feel like you might have DSPS, do visit an expert. Don’t try any of these treatments by yourself.

Hoping you don’t have to seek such solutions. Sleep tight!

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea unlike popular belief is not merely a sleeping disorder that renders a person’s night disturbed but can also in some cases prove to be deadly. In the US alone, at least 6% of the adults suffer from mild cases whereas up to 17 % suffer from serious sleep apnea. In order to understand how it can prove fatal for a patient suffering from it, it is imperative that a closer look be taken at the disorder itself.

Sleep Apnea

Characterized by pauses in breathing in addition to shallow or infrequent breath, this disorder targets the respiratory passageway of patients while they sleep. The infrequency or shortage in access to breath causes carbon dioxide to build up in the patient’s bloodstream. This in turn causes the chemoreceptors in the blood to be alerted, hence waking up the patient. Waking up and breathing in air causes a flow of oxygen to reach the patient and restoring the oxygen level to the brain.

Is Sleep Apnea Fatal?

Sleep apnea can prove to be fatal if not treated correctly or not diagnosed properly. Lack of oxygen to the brain clearly stands out as a health risk but with this disorder there is more to be aware of. According to some recent groundbreaking studies, sleep apnea has been found to be directly related to health conditions such as hypertension, coronary diseases, strokes and heart failure. The most obvious and common and impending result of sleep apnea however is “sudden death” due to lack of oxygen.

Sleep Apnea and Coronary Diseases

  • Sleep apnea causes activation of the sympathetic nervous system in the human body. This causes the body to go into “fight or flight mode” and go into a state of stress.
  • Sleep apnea causes major issues with the lining of blood vessels and often causing inflammation which can prove to be fatal in the long run.
  • Sleep apnea contributes to metabolic regulation directly.

The above stated factors all contribute to onset of coronary heart disease.

Sleep Apnea and Stroke

  • Sleep apnea causes vasodilation in the brain.
  • It causes a shortage of oxygen to the patient’s brain
  • The patient’s brain becomes susceptible to risks of blood clots.

The above stated factors all directly affect the brain in ways which lead to a stroke.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Failure

  • Sleep apnea causes vasoconstriction and a shortage of oxygen in the patient’s lungs.
  • Vasoconstriction causes increased blood pressure in the blood vessels in the right side of the heart.

Over a period of time, both these factors can contribute to heart failure and prove fatal to the patient.

How Can a Healthy Person Die While Sleeping?

This is a common question regarding sleep apnea. The key to understanding the answer to this is to understand that sleep apnea is a disorder and one which requires immediate and effective diagnosis. All the above mentioned health risks are directly related to sleep apnea and can cause long lasting damage if not treated effectively.

Natural Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is sleeping disorder that involves breathlessness during sleeping. This causes a prevention of oxygen to the brain which might prove to be even fatal. The biggest reason for this is that the supply of oxygen to the brain gets hindered which is extremely harmful.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated Naturally?

Whereas there are various surgical procedures and devices which cure sleep apnea, the best part is that good news is that sleep apnea can in fact be treated naturally. All it takes is a little courage and a constant supply of determination. Fitness and a constant lifestyle of activity are very important for anyone wishing to treat sleep apnea naturally. Following is a list of all those natural treatments that can help in treating this sleep disorder.

  • Weight Loss: According to a study, it is found out that majority of the sleep apnea sufferers are overweight and were cured of sleep apnea immediately after undergoing an aggressive weight loss program suited specially for their bodies. However, while undergoing such a program it is imperative that the advice of your physician as well as the help of a nutritionist be taken.
  • Change in Sleep Position: Usually while lying on your back, the tongue tends to fall back towards the throat making an attempt to close the airway shut. However, by changing the sleeping position slightly one can easily avoid a sleep apnea episode. Decrease the number of pillows whilst sleeping as it allows the neck to rest at a more natural angle which in turn helps to keep the airways opened.
  • Intake of Vitamins/Minerals: It was found in a study that by increasing the amount of Vitamin D in the body one can completely eliminate the symptoms and even onset of sleep apnea. The usage of Vitamin C has also been known to eliminate the potential threats of any damage which could be caused by sleep apnea.
  • Magnesium: The major cause of sleep apnea is the obstruction to the muscles around the throat. A healthy dosage of magnesium is very important for those looking to fight sleep apnea because it tends to keep the muscles healthy.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbs can significantly help sleep apnea sufferers and also those patients suffering from any other sleeping disorder. It is found out that two herbs such as Lavender (Lvandula Angustifolia, Lavandula Officinalis) and California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) can help sleep apnea patients.
  • Serotonin Precursor 5-HTP: According to a research, it has been fund out that sleep apnea is sometimes also caused by low levels of serotonin in the body. The production of serotonin depends on the intake of magnesium in the body. Hence, it has a direct relationship with a healthy intake of magnesium.

Viability of Natural Treatment – How Effective Are They?

While the above mentioned treatments can help treat sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders naturally, the most important thing to keep in mind is weight management. This is a frightening disorder as it can leave you gasping for air but as long as you take proper care and stick religiously to these prescribed tips and treatment methods you can fight it.

Is Sleep Apnea Hereditary? – Genetic Link of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a person stops breathing for around ten seconds while sleeping. This happens a few times a night and could go on to hundred times a night. It can be deadly as oxygen does not reach the brain causing fatal consequences.

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is a type of sleep apnea which has been found to run in families. Hence, there is a strong possibility of sleep apnea being transmitted through genes. The basic reasons linked to OSA are often obesity and weight issues. As it is commonly known that obesity is one of the health conditions which are often genetic, OSA can be said to be directly linked with genetics.

How Can This Issue Be Solved? – Possible Cures

Luckily, OSA can be cured medicinally and naturally as well. There are many treatments, methods and exercises that can help reduce the severity of OSA and in the best case scenario, they can help in eliminating it completely.

  • There are several treatments that can help treat OSA such as CPAP and BiPAP methods. CPAP is a method used by placing a device which creates a mild pressure for the patient which in turn helps in opening the airways. Similarly, the BiPAP method helps in the opening the airways by regulating two levels of pressure. One is the inspiratory pressure which refers to the air which is inhaled; the other is the expiratory pressure which is the air pressure expired out of the lungs.

By regulating a proper amount of pressure for the patient’s airway, OSA can be treated even if a patient receives it genetically.

  • There are surgical procedures also that can help overcome sleep apnea but by undergoing surgeries, a person’s facial framework might change permanently which happens to be the biggest drawback. There is also the fact that no surgical procedure has a hundred percent success rate which means that there is always a dissatisfaction risk if the patient does not feel fully cured. A UPPP surgery involves removal of tissue surrounding the throat.

This is one surgery which is specially performed to treat OSA. It helps clearing the obstructions in a patient’s throat. These obstructions are often hereditary as they mostly involve tissue or muscular growth or other obstructions caused by obesity.

  • There are various exercises that can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea. Tsk- Tsk Sound Exercise, Chewing Gum Exercise and Tongue Rove exercise are to name a few. These exercises involve the movement of tongue and lips in such a way that it helps to open the blocked the airways. This helps the easy movement of air in and out the throat. There is an exercise that involves placing a pencil or a stick between your teeth for thirty seconds before you sleep.

Exercising helps in keeping a control over OSA especially if you suffer from a mild case. These exercises are also helpful for those people who have not been diagnosed with this disorder but it runs in their family. After all, we all know that prevention is better than cure!

Minimizing the Risk – How to Avoid the Risk if Sleep Apnea Runs in the Family!

If sleep apnea, especially OSA runs in the family there are various ways to prevent yourself from suffering from it. These are some of the reliable, tried and tested tips prescribed by doctors.

  • Lose Weight: As mentioned above, it has been observed that overweight people tend to be more at risk of sleep apnea. Hence, it is advised that those people who have a family tendency of sleep apnea keep their weight under control.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is a health hazard for sleep apnea patients because it causes the airways to swell up. This results in an obstructed supply of air to the airways and forming a residue of harmful toxin in them as well as the lung. The best way to tackle this issue? Quit Smoking!
  • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol is another agent which causes damage to the airways. In case you have a family history of sleep apnea, it is best to save yourself some trouble and stay away from alcohol.
  • Stay Fit: Involve exercises in your daily life and try your utmost best to stay away from laziness. This will keep obesity and in turn sleep apnea away from you even if runs in the family.

Even though, Sleep Apnea is hereditary disease but mentioned precautions can help prevent people in transferring the disease into next generation.

Sleep Apnea Surgery – Insight Into Surgical Procedures

Sleep Apnea Surgeries

Sleep apnea surgeries are resorted to when Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) cannot be cured with behavioral therapy, CPAP or Dental devices. Being the most common form of sleep apnea OSA is characterized by the collapse of soft tissue in the airways. This leads to hindrance in the regulation of breath while the patient is sleeping. This treatment method is to be opted for under the guidance of a physician who is aware of your whole sleep apnea history. Let’s take a closer look at the various surgeries to cure OSA.

  • Nasal Airway Surgery: This type of surgery aims to fix the deviations and obstructions present in the nasal passage. The most common of these procedures is septoplasty and tubinate surgery. Both these methods function as improvement to the nasal airway.
  • Palate Implant Surgery: This type of surgery is used to fix implants in the palate. These help in stiffening the palate and hence prevent a palate collapse which causes obstruction of breath to the pharynx.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This type of surgery aims to reconstruct and improve upon the palate, pharynx and tonsils in such a way that prevents them from collapsing. In some cases the tonsils and uvula are removed while in some cases all three parts are trimmed in a way to suit the patient’s requirement.
  • Tongue Reduction Surgery: For some patients their own tongue can be a cause of obstruction of breath. In such cases the base of the tongue is reconstructed and reduced in order to provide a safer passage for breath.
  • Maxillomandibular Advancement: This type of surgery aims to pull the jaw and upper teeth forward and allow an unobstructed passageway of air to the patient.
  • Tracheostomy: Some people suffer from a narrow trachea especially in its lowest parts. In such cases a tracheostomy tube is passed directly into the trachea which ensures a smooth and regulated flow of air to the patient.
  • Bariatric Surgery: Bariatric surgery is only prescribed to morbidly obese patients who might face a risk to their life because of OSA. It aims to help obese patients lose weight in order to improve their condition.

Sleep Apnea Surgery Costs and Clinics:

Sleep apnea surgeries have a wide range of fee which range from $3500 up to $5000. This range varies from the surgery opted for and the requirements of the patients based upon their condition. To look for the best clinic, it is best to refer to your own doctor. However, there are certain things which patients can take care of themselves. Make certain that the clinic is accredited by sleep apnea authorities in your country. If you are in the US, look for facilities accredited from AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine). Another helpful tip is to undergo through sleep testing from the same facility before you undergo the surgery.

Sleep Apnea Surgery Effects – Viability, Side Effects and Long Term Effects

Sleep Apnea Surgeries are in fact viable and produce long term relief to patients. However, this being said the procedures do have some small risks and concerns attached.

  • The residual anesthetic agents in a patient’s body after the surgery can lead to obstruction in their air passageway. This is why utmost care needs to be taken during the recuperation period after the surgery.
  • Patients might suffer from scar tissues which might be painful.
  • They might face problems in swallowing due to scar tissue and might even undergo voice changes.

 

Sleep Apnea Exercises

Sleep Apnea Exercises – A Permanent Cure?

Exercises introduced to patients to cure sleep apnea itself are not permanent. However, in most cases with the help of these exercises, the severity of a patient’s condition is often decreased significantly. They also help in keeping a control over the patient’s sleep apnea frequency.

Sleep Apnea Exercises:

Following are the exercises that often referred to different patients in order to reduce sleep apnea.

  • Throat Exercise: This exercise tends to lower the severity of sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles in the airway which in turn helps the airways to avoid collapsing with each other.
  • Chewing Gum Exercise: To do this exercise you must act like you are chewing gum and pretend that the molars are moving. Initiate by chewing for a few minutes then slowly and gradually increase the duration provided your mouth remains closed throughout.
  • Yawning Exercise: This exercise is characterized by triggering a yawn and opening your mouth as wide as possible. It particularly helps in easing the flow of air.
  • Vowel Exercise: To do this exercise, recite the vowels fast and clearly. You may start by reciting them softly and after a few minutes increase your voice level.
  • Singing exercise: This is exercise is fairly simple. Choose a favorite song and sing your heart out.
  • Swallowing Exercise: For this exercise clench the muscles at the back of the throat for around thirty seconds or so at least and softly bite your tongue. After this immediately start swallowing and do it at least five times.
  • Palate Push: For this exercise, touch the back of your front teeth with your tongue and roll it backwards slowly.
  • Lip Route: To do this exercise lick your upper and lower lips continuously in a rotating motion using your tongue. Start by doing it clockwise and then end by doing the same exercise anti clockwise.
  • Tongue Out Exercise: For this exercise, simply take your tongue out for as long as you can. Pull it back in and repeat the exercise for a few times.
  • Tsk-Tsk Sound Exercise: Touch the back of the front teeth using your tongue. Make quick “tsk tsk” sounds for at least a minute or so then relax and the repeat the exercise.
  • Tongue Rove Exercise: For this exercise, explore your mouth using your tongue. Run over the front of your teeth, the top and the base of your mouth.
  • Jaw Stick Exercise: To do this exercise, hold a pencil or a stick between your teeth for around ten minutes just before going to sleep.
  • Jaw Swing Exercise: For this exercise, place your lower jaw towards the far right and hold it there for a little over thirty seconds then place your lower jaw towards the far left and hold it there for the same duration. Relax and repeat.

Efficacy of Sleep Apnea Exercises – Do They Help?

Yes, these exercises are certainly helpful. They are helpful because they work together to strengthen the muscles which keep your airways open so that the air can pass through easily. Although, these exercises will not completely cure the problem, they do tend to reduce the severity of sleep apnea. By attempting any of these exercises, a sleep apnea sufferer can definitely have some quality sleep. The best part about these exercises is that there is no side effect to any of them.

Sleep Apnea – More about the CPAP Machine

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that which plagues a large number of people all over the world. This disorder is basically characterized by infrequency of breath while a person sleeps. It affects the air passageway of the patient in such a way that it hinders the access of air to them. The infrequency or shallow breathing causes them to have an excess of carbon dioxide build up in their bloodstream while the oxygen levels decrease rapidly. This excess of oxygen causes them to wake up with a start, hence taking in large amounts of air which regulates the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream back to normal.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep apnea is a curable disorder and should be diagnosed properly and given the required medical attention. This disorder is not to be taken lightly as it causes long term damages to the patients and in some cases has even been known to be fatal.Sleep apnea has various treatments which include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Dental devices
  • Surgical procedures
  • CPAP machine

The CPAP machine is the most widely used treatment for this disorder and has proven to be the most effective for patients all over the world. While this method takes some getting used to, it is the one method which has gained the trust of patient worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at this treatment procedure in order to gain a deeper insight into its workings.

CPAP Machine – What Is It?

The CPAP fully known as the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine is a device which consists of a mask that patients wear while sleeping at night. As the name clearly suggests, the machine regulates a steady flow of airway pressure for the patient as they sleep. This continuous flow is devoid of any infrequencies of disruption, hence allowing the patient to have a night of sound sleep. This machine is to be worn during the night by the patient in order for it to work efficiently.

Sleep Apnea Mask – What is a sleep apnea mask?

A sleep apnea mask is the mask which fits over the patient’s mouth along with the CPAP machine. CPAP machines are often referred to as sleep apnea masks because the mask they work with is the basic component of the machine. A lot of importance is placed on the mask itself because being the basic component; this is what a patient needs to be most comfortable with. The mask is what the patient needs to choose according to their face as well as their comfort level. The machinery part of CPAP machine is something which is prescribed whereas the mask is to be chosen by patient based on their level of comfort. There are basically three kinds of masks:

  • Nasal Mask: This fits the nose and regulates air pressure through the nasal cavity of the patient.
  • Oral Mask: This kind of mask fits the mouth and regulates air pressure to the patient through their oral cavity.
  • Full Face Mask: This kind of mask regulates air pressure to the patient through the mouth as well as the nose.

While the doctor is responsible for prescribing which mask is required for the patient, it is imperative that they try the mask out first and choose the one that is most comfortable for them. This not only ensures efficient treatment but also a comfortable night’s sleep.

CPAP Machine – How Does It Work?

To understand the efficiency of the CPAP machine, it is imperative that its working be understood. As mention above that the machine consists of a mask which regulates a continuous flow of air pressure. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly the machine operates and ensures this steady flow of air pressure. The mask is usually supported with a hose that connects it to a small pump like device. The device has various settings of air pressure which are then regulated to the patient. These settings are closely monitored and prescribed by the doctor to patient, based upon their needs.

Types of CPAP Machines – What is the Best for Whom?

With the advancement in technology and the ever growing innovation CPAP machines are now becoming more and more efficient. There are two sub categories of CPAP machines which will be mentioned below to provide an easy guide for those struggling to find the right one.

  • APAP Machines or Auto CPAP: Known mostly as an Auto Positive Air Pressure Machine, the APAP Machine works on the principle of titration i.e that is works with determining or “titrating” the air pressure to understand the optimum level required for the patient. It does so throughout the night and keeps working at providing that optimum level which the patient requires at various points during the night. We can call it a more “intelligent” device because it is automatically programmed to understand what the patient needs rather than the regular CPAP machine which is provided with the requirements. The “titration” process helps this machine understand what exactly is the concentration of air pressure in the patient’s air passageway and how can it be regulated.

 

  • Bi-PAP Machines: Bi-PAP machines or the Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure Machine works with two levels of air pressure in order to regulate an easy passage of air in the airways. To help this machine work optimally, doctors prescribe specific pressures to the machine. These pressures settings alternate; meaning that two pressure settings work together to assure safe regulation. One is a higher pressure which is breathed in by the patient. It is called the IPAP (inspiratory positive airway pressure). The second pressure level is the EPAP (expiratory positive airway pressure). This is the pressure setting which is exhaled by the patient.

How do CPAP Machines Work? – Determining What Suits You

The only way to knowing how exactly a CPAP machine would work for you is to discuss your options with your physician. Only a doctor can take a closer look at your condition and prescribe you your perfect match based on the severity of your condition. It is imperative to consult a doctor because choosing a PAP machine yourself might actually cause more harm than actually helping your condition. A doctor would know which of the three types are most suitable for you. For the simplest cases, usually a CPAP machine is prescribed while the more complex ones are treated with an APAP or a BPAP machine.

Doctors can determine which pressure settings should be used for what requirement, guide health precautions to be undertaken and so on. The one thing which the patient should however have an active participation is determining their comfort level. The patient has to wear the mask overnight which is why the doctor and patient should work together and choose the best possible mask.

CPAP Machine Settings – Can a Patient Change Them?

Contrary to popular belief, it is well within the rights ofa patient to adjust the settings on their CPAP machine. A patient should be able to adjust the setting son their machine, however it is imperative that they be educated and informed about the settings beforehand. This is only achieved by a healthy doctor-patient relationship in which the doctor should trust the patient enough with the required information.

It is actually quite simple to adjust your settings mostly due to the fact that all CPAP machines are easy to use. With the advancement in technology simpler ones are being designed for the patient’s use. Once a patient wishes to change the settings on their machine, they should consult their doctor over the possible benefits as well as the side effects of these changes.

Another important tip is to read the instruction manual f your CPAP machine thoroughly. It sounds quite boring and might seem like a tedious task but it might prove to be lifesaving as it is a sensitive health matter and must not be tampered with lightly. It is also very important to identify yourself with the machine through the pictures in the manual. This ensures visual cues and familiarizes patients with the machine visually as well as theoretically. Knowing the various parts of the machine and how each one contributes to it is something which every patient should know.

CPAP Pressure – How to Change Pressure Settings?

Changing the pressure settings on your CPAP machine is very simple. However, as mentioned above do not do so without trusting your physician for consent.The exact steps of adjusting pressure vary from model to model which is why you must gain as much information about your model and familiarize yourself to it. Firstly determine your machine’s model. Most models however follow these steps.

  • Unplug the cord from the back of the CPAP and press and hold the user buttons below your display. When the buttons beep finally, you can proceed forward as it means that you have entered the Therapy Setup Menu.
  • Reset your display which shows the number of hours the machine has been used. Erase this number by pressing down the ramp or humidifier button. Keep holding down the button until the time changes to 0 and the X which flashes on the screen is removed.
  • The next step is to set your elevation setting. This is also changed by the humidifier or ramp button.
  • Next up is the selection of the Therapy Mode which can be chosen from CPAP and CFLEX. Choose your setting accordingly.
  • The CPAP Pressure setting appears next and you can adjust this through the ramp and humidifier button.

If you do not wish to make any changes in any of the options, you have the choice to skip it by using the right user button.

CPAP Maintenance – How to Care for and Clean Your CPAP Machine?

It is necessary that you regularly clean your CPAP machine as it might get affected by the residual objects in the air. In order to ensure efficient treatment it is imperative that utmost care be taken and the machine is provided with hygiene. This is mostly done to avoid any formation of bacterial culture as that can lead to serious repercussions for the patient. The parts which require special cleaning and care are the tubing and the mask.

  • Daily Cleaning: Clean your mask on a daily basis in order to avoid any infections or bacterial formation. This can be done easily with some warm water and soap by using a piece of cloth and wiping the surfaces of the machine clean.
  • Weekly Cleaning: This needs to be done on a larger scale. Think of this as “bath time” for your machine. Take apart the various parts specially the tubing and the mask from the pressure device. Soak these parts in a tub or a bucket filled with warm water and detergent. Once this is done rinse the parts with clean water and then let them either air dry or opt for wiping them dry. It is better to air dry these parts as the risk of additional germs are minimized.

Efficiency of CPAP Machines – Pros and Cons of CPAP

Just like any method, CPAP Machines have their own pros and cons. It is important to take a look at both in order to help patients make an informed decision about this choice of treatment. To end this guide on a more positive note, let’s first discuss the cons of this treatment method.

  • The method is deemed uncomfortable by many as they feel claustrophobic with the mask on.
  • The constant airflow often causes nasal bleeding, irritation and in some cases dryness of the airway.
  • Sore gums and buccal and nasal cavity (mouth and nose) is also a common complaint for many.
  • Some patients cannot simply get used to fitting a mask over their mouths all night.

Now let’s take a closer look at all the advantages of this method.

  • It is an efficient treatment for those who have not found relief from behavioral therapy or lifestyle changes and do not wat to undergo surgical procedures.
  • The required air pressure is provided to the patient with a regulated frequency.
  • The right mask size helps the patient achieve a better night’s sleep.
  • The device is compact and can be taken wherever the patient requires taking it.

CPAP Machines – Yes or No?

This a question which many patients ask doctors. As mentioned above the treatment method has positive as well as negative aspects. What is important is that the doctor and patient have a detailed discussion and figure out if the treatment is suitable for the patient and then fine tune it according to their needs.

Sleep Apnea – Insight into the Disorder, Symptoms, Treatments

What is Sleep apnea?

Plaguing a large number of people worldwide, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder. This disorder causes an obstruction of air to the lungs hence causing a disruption in the flow of oxygen to the brain due to excess of carbon dioxide in the body. Sleep apnea is basically characterized by infrequent breath as well as shallow breathing while a person sleeps. When a person is in a state of sleep apnea, the lack of oxygen to the brain causes them to wake up hence, swallowing in large amounts of air. The air acts as a carrier of oxygen and hence restores the oxygen levels in their body.

Signs and Symptoms – How do you know if you suffer from sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea just like any other disorder has clear signs and indications. However, people fail to take this condition seriously and hence run the risk of serious health damage. Let’s take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of this disorder. Knowing about them may not only prove to be useful for you but could be helpful for your loved ones too. Whether or not a person is suffering from sleep apnea is determined by a clinical evaluation of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive Sleepiness: Excessive sleepiness during the day can be a clear indication of sleep apnea. This is caused mainly due to the fact that the patient is unable to get a good night’s worth of sleep. Due to the constant waking up during the night, their body’s sleep requirement is not fulfilled hence causing them to feel sleepy the following morning.
  • Concentration Difficulties: Due to disrupted sleep, some patients might face difficulties concentrating on even the most simplest of their daily tasks. This could be a clear indication of the fact that they are suffering from sleep apnea during the night.
  • Headaches: Some patients even complain of constant headaches when suffering from sleep apnea.
  • Irritability and Anxiety: Irritability and Anxiety are some of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Both of these result out of lack of a proper sleep during the night.

Other symptoms which indicate a possibility of this disorder are memory problems, day time fatigue and in some cases insomnia.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are basically three types of sleep apnea which a person may suffer from.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is mainly caused due to some kind of obstruction in a person’s airway. This could be due to soft tissue of the airway, obesity, damage to the airway because of smoking or alcoholism. A person suffering from this type is prone to snoring mainly due to the lack of oxygen to their lungs. Carbon dioxide levels rise when the passageway of air is met with obstruction and causes the patient to suffer from breathlessness.

Central Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea is a little more complicated than Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The cause of this is mainly rooted in the fact that the patient’s brain has an imbalanced respiratory control system. This means that there is not effective monitoring in their brain of the lack of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide.

Mixed/Complex Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. It occurs when despite being treated for obstructive sleep apnea a person suffers from central sleep apnea. A combination treatment is then introduced to help the patient cope with this.

Dangers and Repercussions – Can sleep apnea be fatal?

Yes. Sleep apnea can prove to be increasingly damaging to a person’s health and in some cases can even be fatal. The disorder causes certain changes in the patient’s body over a period of time which can prove to be fatal in the long run. These changes include coronary diseases, hypertension, stroke risk as well as heart failure. Sudden death due to breathlessness while sleeping is one of the most common repercussions of sleep apnea. If not diagnosed properly this disorder can be extremely harmful for the patient which is why proper and effective treatment is imperative.

Treatment: Can Sleep Apnea be Treated?

Yes. This disorder is certainly curable as well as treatable. There are various treatments for this disorder which include behavioral as well as surgical methods. Let’s take a closer look at the various treatment methods for sleep apnea and their viability.

Behavioral Therapy: One of the very first steps to help patients cope with this disorder is behavioral therapy. Patients are often prescribed to make certain changes to their lifestyle which might help their condition. Use of alcohol and chain smoking is often to be restricted. Sedatives and sleeping pills are to be avoided. If a patient is obese they are advised to work towards a more healthy diet and steps to ensure weight loss are prescribed. Obese patients are also advised to regularly exercise and make it a part of their daily routine.These changes all contribute helpfully to preventing airway collapse while sleeping. Sleeping position is also sometimes directly related to sleep apnea. In such cases patients are told to sleep on their side rather than in a supine position. Elevation of the head while sleeping is also a tip that works for most patients. Opening up one’s nasal passage through saline spray or drops, breathing strips is also prescribed.

These behavioral and lifestyle changes have been found to be quite effective for patients worldwide depending upon the severity of their condition.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, commonly known as CPAP is deemed as one of the most effective treatments of sleep apnea. It is widely prescribed to patients all over the world who do not seem to be cured with behavioral therapy. The procedure consists of a device which includes a CPAP mask which fits over the nose and regulates a constant flow of air to the patient. It also ensures a constant air pressure to be provided to the patient without any obstruction and hence ensures him/her a good night’s sleep.

Just like other methods, CPAP has its own pros and cons. The method has been known to be quite effective for most people. However, many find it to be extremely uncomfortable. This is mostly due to the fact that they cannot get accustomed to fitting the mask over their face for the whole night. It gives them a sense of having their chest congested which is extremely unpleasant. Other patients have often complained of irritation in their noses and skins. Some of the most common side effects of this therapy include dryness in the nasal and buccal cavity (nose and mouth), sore gums, sore lips as well as frequent nosebleeds.

Dental Devices: Dental devices such as tongue retainers and mandibular repositioning devices are often used to help patients with mild sleep apnea cope with the condition.

These devices are quite effective for patients with mild sleep apnea as it helps them achieve a clear air passageway. However, they are not effective for those patients who suffer from severe sleep apnea.

Surgical Methods: In the cases when behavioral therapy and CPAP does not work for a patient, they can discuss surgical options with their doctor. There are various surgeries which can help ease the patient’s condition. Nasal passages often need to be corrected or reconstructed in which case septoplasty and tubinate surgery proves to be quite effective. In case of pharyngeal obstruction patients are referred to undergo tonsillectomy or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. These surgeries ensure a clearer pharyngeal passageway of air to be accessible to the patient’s body. If a person is suffering from obstructions at the base of their tongue or in the hypopharyngeal passageway, they can opt for reconstructive surgeries on these parts. These procedures can stiffen the tissues which are in excess and proving to be a hindrance. They can also be shrunk in order to ensure a more unobstructed passageway of air.

These surgical methods are quite effective for those severe cases which are not treated by behavioral therapy or CPAP. However, there are certain things which patients need to be aware of and discuss with their doctor before the procedures. Just like other surgical procedures, anesthetic drugs used in these procedures are bound to be residual in the body even hours after the procedure. The body is likely to be a carrier of these agents for many hours and sometimes even days. These residual agents often cause dangerous breathing irregularities. Another side effect of these surgeries is that like any other surgical procedure they can cause swelling of the operated are. In the case that a patient has opted for a nasal or pharyngeal surgery, they might suffer from swallowing of the same area for quite a few days which is why extreme care needs to be taken while recuperating.

Sleep Apnea – Not to be Taken Lightly!

Sleep apnea in no case is supposed to be taken lightly. It is a serious condition which can prove to be quite dangerous if it is not treated effectively and in time. It is highly recommended to consult your physician as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.