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What Sleep Apnea Sounds Like

It is not very difficult to determine if someone is struggling through their sleep with obstructive sleep apnea(OSA).  Actually, it is quite simple.  All you need to do is take a good listen to the sounds that are being made, and there’s a great chance you will be able to recognize the tell tale signs of his sleeping disorder.  In this video, you can hear the common sounds of moderate snoring, but you can also hear the sounds of airway obstructions if you listen a bit more closely.

What might surprise you is that sleep apnea is not something that is reserved for men or women.  It is found in both sexes and the current trend is that more and more females are being diagnosed as the years are moving forward.  One thing that everyone should pay attention to is directly related to sleep.  If you are feeling tired and fatigued during the day, try to record your sleep one night with a simple video camera.  It is very possible that you are making sleep apnea related sounds just like you can hear in this video.  All snoring is not sleep apnea, but quite a bit of it is.

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Sleep Apnea Clinic

What is a Sleep Apnea Clinic?

For people who are suffering from sleep apnea symptoms, there is a awfully good chance that you will be referred to a Sleep Apnea Clinic or Sleep Lab at some point in time.  That is nothing to be scared of.  In-fact, this article will try to explain everything to you so you can be well informed with what may take place once you arrive.

Sleep Apnea Clinics help patients who suffer from sleep apnea which is commonly known as obstructive sleep apnea.  These clinics are usually managed by a board certified sleep physician, although you may also find one managed by a pulmonologist doctor.  These clinics are very useful in determining a proper diagnosis of a patient, and the severity of their sleep apnea symptoms, and especially what the next steps are that should be taken to treat the sleeping disorder.

Within a sleep apnea clinic, you will usually find some respiratory therapists, these people might be there to assist patients who have documented sleep apnea, and they specifically might help with use CPAP equipment.  CPAP equipment is the most common treatment device used to treat the sleep apnea symptoms, and it takes some personalized care for patients to be informed an instructed on how to use it properly.  A good Respiratory Therapist will be able to demonstrate to a new patient the use of CPAP, and then that patient will be able to return home knowing exactly how to use the sleep apnea machine.  For new patients, be sure to take as much time as possible understanding and learning how to use CPAP therapy, it is very useful, but you should have all your questions answered on how to use it before you leave the sleep apnea clinic.

Meeting the Sleep Doctor

If you are on of the lucky individuals, you might be able to have a full appointment with the sleep doctor who owns/runs the sleep clinic.  This is a person who is trained in diagnosing sleeping disorders and will be able to answer any questions that you have regarding the severity of your sleeping problems, and treatment options.  Be sure to ask this person all the questions that you have.  Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are not very well known amongst internal medicine doctors and Family Medicine doctors, so this would be your chance to talk with a sleep specialist and you should.  This sleep doctor might be the person who is going to prescribe that you have a formal sleep study which is known as a PSG test or Overnight Sleep Study.  This is conducted usually within the sleep lab environment, and it takes 1 or 2 days.  If you believe that you are just a casual snoring patient, you might want to consider having a thorough investigation into your symptoms from this doctor before signing up for the full sleep study which can be extremely costly.

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Sleep Apnea Devices

There are several different devices that can be used to treat Sleep Apnea.  The following are the most common treatment devices for sleep apnea patients.  They are listed in order of most popular to least popular.

CPAP and AutoPAP Therapy

CPAP stand for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure” and it is used to provide a constant flow of airway to a patients lungs throughout the night.  With the help of a CPAP device, patients who have sleep apnea can benefit from the assistance of air pressure to make sure their airway does not close up.  This is a treatment therapy for OSA that has been around for several decades and it is very effective when used properly.  Along with the CPAP device, patients need to also wear a mask that the CPAP hose will attach to.  As many patients don’t want to wear a mask to sleep, it often turns out difficult to use this therapy on an on-going basis  especially for patients who have moderate sleep apnea symptoms.

Provent Therapy Devices

Provent Therapy is a very new technology which is a very small medical device that patients wear at nighttime when they are sleeping.  The Provent device is a small sticker with a small medical device in the center.  You attach them to each nostril and they help you to sleep and minimize the negative effects of sleep apnea respiratory disturbances.

Oral Appliance Devices

An oral appliance is something that a patient would wear in the mouth at night time.  It works to keep the airway open, and it does this by moving forward the lower jaw a very slight amount.  In effect, a very small distance of opening is all that is needed for a typical patient to relieve the closures of the airway that are so common with sleep apnea patients.  This type of device is something that a patient would receive from a dentist who is trained in sleep medicine and oral appliances.  They are relatively new compared to CPAP therapy, but oral appliances are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use and effectiveness.  Somnomed makes a very good oral appliance device.

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Is Dementia in Women Related to Sleep Apnea

Recently, there has been news within the world of sleep medicine, and specifically with regards to sleep apnea.  A study has just been released which shows a link between older women who have sleep disordered breathing and dementia.  What is even more interesting about these new findings is that many doctors are starting to realize how sleep apnea might affect more than just the breathing systems in our bodies, but also our brains.

When patients struggle throughout the night with blocked breathing in their airway, the loss of oxygen to the lungs makes it way into all parts of the body.  It has been clear for a long time that sleep apnea patients have a much higher risk of stroke, but dementia has not been looked at previously until now.  What is happening in the brain at night while it is being starved of oxygen due to a respiratory disturbance?  Is there a total shutdown of the brain while apnea events are taking place or is there something more going on?  This is not yet understood, but the evidence seems clear that with repeated blocks of oxygen to our bodies during sleep, problems may arise during the following days and months ahead.

I am sure that most sleep medicine professionals and sleep doctors would agree that this is not a total shock, a relationship of dementia and sleep apnea in older women.  But what is really interesting is that the founder of modern day sleep apnea is a famous doctor named Dr. Dement.

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I’m Worried About My Snoring

I’m Worried About My Snoring

Lately, my wife has been complaining that I keep her awake all night long.  I know that evhusband snoringer since I can remember, my sleeping patterns have been filled with snoring that comes and goes, but nobody has ever said it bothers them, and now my wife came out of nowhere telling me that she has been up for quite some time.

This has me pretty depressed and wondering what to do.  We don’t have other rooms in the house that I can sleep in so I am searching for help with my snoring.  I have read quite a bit lately online about obstructive sleep apnea, and it sounds like that just might be my main problem.  I have read how sleeping on your back can often make the apnea worse, and if that is true, it is definitely what I am doing.  I’m pretty overweight, and for me, it is just more comfortable to sleep on my back at night.  I don’t usually have time to nap or rest during the day because I am out working and driving a moving truck, but I sure would enjoy a nap once in a while.

My best guess is that next time I have a doctors appointment, I will bring up the snoring issue with my primary care doctor and see what he has to say.  I suspect they will want to refer me to a sleep doctor for one of those sleep studies which I also read about over the last few days.  If the sleep test can properly diagnosis me with sleep apnea, then I think I will be getting my snoring under control with whatever the next step is.  One of the positive things is I am under my wife’s health insurance, and I’ve already found out that they do cover sleep studies as long as you have a doctor’s referral.  That is some good news.

Thanks for reading.


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Air Traffic Controllers May Have Sleep Apnea

sleeping air traffic control

air traffic worker sleeping

Within the past few weeks, there has been an awful lot of news about the air traffic controllers in the United States falling asleep while working.  This has gotten to the point where President Obama is demanding that these workers who serve the general public in a critical way need to be held responsible immediately.  The most recent air controller has been suspended from work while an investigation begins.

What might be the cause of these employees falling asleep on the job?  They are all initially suspected of having sleep apnea.  Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder and is widespread throughout not only the United States, but the rest of the world.  The most common symptom that sleep apnea patients present in their daily lives is chronic fatigue or sleepiness.  The reason for this is simple: they are not getting a good nights sleep because their airway is being obstructed which causes them to constantly arouse and wake up over and over again all night long.

Sleep Apnea would make the most common sense for the air traffic controllers, as all of them have passed several drug tests, and have been through a very rigorous screening process prior to being hired into their important safety positions.  The physical dilemma that an undiagnosed sleep apnea patient has is they can’t understand why they are so sleepy all day long.  Often the sleepiness goes on for years before a proper diagnosis is made, and during that time the patients find creative ways to minimize the effects the symptoms have on their daily life.  For example, many sleep apnea patients who are sleepy all day long compensate by drinking enormous amounts of caffeine to stay away on the job.  It is not common for workers with sleep apnea to drink 10-15 cups of coffee per day just to keep from falling asleep while working.

There is some very positive news if the air traffic controllers do have sleep apnea, it can be fixed quickly and easily.  First the air controllers would need to be tested with a sleep study to make the diagnosis.  That can take anywhere from one to two week to complete.  Next, there are several treatment options that can be chosen which range from sleeping in a different body position, to CPAP therapy which involves wearing a mask to sleep each night, or even oral surgery.  It is not the end of the world if you have sleep apnea, so it should not cost anyone their job if they diagnose and treat it properly.

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Surgery and Oral Appliances Together Fix Snoring

With so many patients not wanting to use CPAP for snoring and sleep apnea, there is a new medical and dental solution combination that is working very well for many patients.  By themselves, minimally invasive snoring surgeries are often unsuccessful in terms of long term treatments.  The same is often true for people who snore all night long who decide to use an oral appliance to open up their airway.  But what both doctors and patients are finding out right now, is that the combination of the two treatments when used together, is very effective and is also a long term plan to stop both snoring and sleep apnea from affecting the day to day lives for those who suffer.

Snoring Surgery

The sleep surgery options that have been used for many years now range in a broad way from very minimally invasive approaches, to surgeries which involve splitting the jaw and removing parts of the soft palate.  These more substantial jaw breaking sleep surgeries are very complex and are extremely expensive, and often, they do not work.  This has made many people either decide to not look into any type of surgery, or to decide on something else to treat their obstructive sleep apnea.  The more minimally invasive surgical procedures are typically compelted within 5-10 minutes and always allow patients to simply walk out of the clinic afterwards.  These types of procedures are usually completed by an Ear, Nose & Throat  (ENT) surgeon and involve the use of lasers to remove certain pieces of tissue from the throat.  There are several different actual procedures and one of them that is very popular right now is called the Pillar Procedure.

Oral Appliances

The dental solution that so many people have been focusing on in recent years has been to use what is called an “oral appliance” to help the snoring and sleep apnea.  Appliances are dental devices which are made specifically for each individual’s mouth and are created after impressions are taken in the dental office.  These oral appliances help snoring by moving the mouth’s tissue away from the airway or by moving the lower jaw outwards to create more space within the airway.  It is also not 100% effective for treating snoring, but it does not require a major surgery, and with a bit of luck and some help from a basic medical procedure, oral appliances can be very effective in terms of a snoring treatment.

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Central Sleep Apnea after CPAP Use

There are new reports coming out that are showing surprising details.  As there is starting to be a huge push in the United States and abroad to test patients who report symptoms close associated to sleep apnea, when it comes time for treatment some new respiratory events seem to be occurring too.

Central Sleep Apneas:

After the patients are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA), it is very common that they are being prescribed Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP).  This is a great therapy and treatment for OSA, however, during a follow up diagnostic sleep study, many patients are also showing a new development in “Central Sleep Apnea” events.  These particular events that can take place at night time do not involve an actual obstruction of the airway, but rather they are more closely associated with a neurological event taking place which is stopping the breathing from happening.

Are Central Sleep Apneas A Real Problem:

The central apneas are not something to get too worried about.  Not only does the CPAP help out with the oxygen desaturations during these events, but they are also less frequent most of the time compared to the patients original study findings.  The best news about these particular breathing disturbances is that they tend to go away and take care of themselves over time as the patient continues to use CPAP equipment.  This is something that all patients and physicians should be aware of.  The most important thing for everyone to realize is that this is starting to be noticed more and more often, and that it is also going away over time, so no need to over react and change treatment for most patients.

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Not Having Enough Dreams is a Major Problem

Too many people are feeling tired during the daytime.  Too many people are waking up in the middle of the night and having a hard time falling back to sleep.  Way too many people are snoring so loud that their bed partners will not under any circumstances sleep with them anymore.  This seems to be the problem that is all too familiar to millions of people these days.  When is it all going to stop.

The whole issue of having dreams is one which is difficult at best to understand and wrap our hands around.  There are just too many people who are waking up in the moring and drinking extra cups of coffee or drinking ten cans of coke or pepsi all day long just to stay awake.  This is not good.  This is most definitely not normal or natural.  This can most certainly be one major thing: living with a sleeping disorder.

Dreams happen during REM(Random Eye Movement) sleep.  This sleep stage happens in most people for about 20-35% of the night.  Although scientists do not understand it completely, it is a known fact that when patients eliminate or reduce their REM sleep either voluntarily or due to physical or mental reasons, the rest of their life is impacted negatively.

There have been several studies comleted by Dr. William Dement who is considered the “Father of Sleep Medicine” from Stanford University, and he has been able to conclude that a lack of REM sleep will negatively impact someone’s life.  By that he has been able to record more irritations, much more sleepiness during the daytime, among other things.

If you are feeling tired during the day each and everyday, it is time for you to get tested during a sleep study to find out if you also suffer from a sleeping disorder.

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Sleep Studies are Very Expensive What About Home Testing for Sleep Apnea?

That’s right, going to an overnight polysomnography(PSG) sleep test in a lab or hospital can be a very expensive event.  It can be so expensive that patients many times cannot afford the copay that is required.  This is a problem with in lab sleep studies.

For many people, when a doctor tells them they have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, they really don’t know what to think.  Some people go home and look on the computer for information about sleep apnea or snoring.  Some people even go the extra mile and look into treatments and cures for sleep apnea.  But, before anyone can really understand how bad their potential obstructive sleep apnea really is, they need to be tested.  There are just a few different ways to have a full sleep study.

Sleep Lab Testing Method for Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

The sleep lab is the older or old fashioned way to test for sleep apnea.  This involves a patient spending the night away from home and being monitored for how many apnea events they have throughout the night.  There is diagnostic equipment attached to the patient that is reading many different channels which will uncover if a patient really has obstructive sleep apnea.  Channels like pulse, oxygen, air flow, brain waves, body movement, apneas, hypopneas, and upper airway resistance is all measured.  The only potential problems are that patients are connected to many different nodes or wires, and in an enviornment which is not very similar to their home.  For this reason along with the fact that there is an overnight sleep tech person from the sleep lab watching you sleep all night, its hard for people to create a realistic night of sleep to be monitored.  And of course, the costs for all of this are very very expensive.  Many times, the costs for an overnight sleep test to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea can cost over two-thousand dollars ($2000).

At Home Portable Sleep Testing for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The other option that patients have is wearing a small testing device for one night in the patient’s home to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.  This sleep testing device will also measure all of the same channels that are measured in a sleep lab, but, the patient can be tested for OSA in their own home.  The costs for portable sleep testing for OSA are only a fraction of the costs compared to having a sleep test in a lab or hospital, and for that reason alone, many patients opt for this type of test.  As the years have moved on, home sleep testing has began to gain huge popularity with both patients and physicians all over the world, and is expected to eliminate the need for in lab sleep testing for obstructive sleep apnea in the near future.

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