Reddit sleep apnea trend has seen significant spikes since people took to the social app to ask a question about this disorder with over 20 thousand members. Much so, there is a section dedicated to asking questions related to it. In this space, users can share their symptoms and connect with others experiencing the same issues.
While the Reddit space is okay to talk about the condition among your peers but being a social space, you can quickly get the wrong information about this condition. Everyone differs, and sleep apnea may not have the same symptoms. So, it is easy to get confused.
This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about sleep apnea to help you manage the condition better, even if just for your comments on Reddit.
What is Sleep Apnea?
In simple terms, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that stops and restarts your breathing at intervals. Thus, the condition is serious, as it affects your sleeping pattern. The first thing you will notice about sleep apnea is loud snores and exhaustion even after 8 hours of sleep.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed with the doctor ruling out any medications that might be interfering with your sleep. They will also check your medical history before carrying out a physical examination and end with a sleep study before they are sure you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
The lack of sleep can affect your heart or lead to other health complications in the long run. It has three main types, and it includes obstructive, complex, and central sleep apnea.
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This type of sleep apnea happens when the throat’s muscle becomes too relaxed. It is the most common type you can find. Some muscles aid the movement of the soft palate, and they look like a triangle while clinging to the soft palate. The soft palate is the uvula, and the muscles are called the tonsils. You can spot the forces around the throat walls and the tongue.
While you sleep, the tonsils are supposed to remain the way it was naturally, but due to sleep apnea, they become relaxed. This obstructs your normal breathing process by closing your airways and preventing you from breathing freely. When this happens, your body senses you’re not getting the required amount of air, and first, it drops the oxygen level in your blood.
This action triggers the brain of energy shortage and a possible period when you don’t breathe. The brain forces your body awake for a brief time to jolt your airways to receive air. Such stops in-breath and wakening happen quickly and often at intervals before morning. It alters your sleep, but you might not notice it hence while you still feel sleepy even after you feel like you’ve had a whole night’s rest. A way to detect the restless phase is gasping, snorting, or choking at night.
2. Central Sleep Apnea
If the brain fails to send the right signals to the body muscles responsible for breathing, it alters sleep, causing apnea. This type of sleep apnea is not common but will stop and start breathing like obstructive sleep apnea. It prevents your brain from sending signals to your muscles for breathing. When this happens, you don’t even breathe, which triggers you to be awake. You notice this type of apnea by shortness of breath and restless sleep.
3. Complex Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea becomes complex when a person suffers from central and obstructive sleep apnea. It is also referred to as treatment-emergent sleep apnea.
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Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The types of sleep apnea can have similar symptoms, as they all affect your breathing and sleep in general. This makes it hard to differentiate between each from just the sign. Below are some symptoms of sleep apnea. You might experience a stoppage of breath while sleeping.
Such observation will be mentioned by someone (either a spouse or friend) with whom you share a bed. That’s because you might not notice your breath has stopped during sleep.
- Loud and Intense snoring in most cases.
- In the morning, you will notice a dry mouth.
- You might find it hard to fall asleep and can tilt towards insomnia.
- You get irritated at the slightest because you feel cranky from lack of sleep.
- The lack of sleep can lead to a short attention span while waking.
- Anxiety and depression.
- You will feel sleepy throughout the day.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Sleep Apnea
Family history: Like other traits, sleep apnea can also get inherited. So, if your parent or family member struggle with sleep apnea, this increases your risk. Sleep apnea affects all gender of all ages, as little ones might just be suffering from this condition. However, the factors that increase the risk of getting sleep apnea to vary with each type.
Obesity: If you are obese or struggle with excess weight, it automatically makes you a top candidate for obstructive sleep apnea. This is because fat deposits all around the body, and even the airways come with weight. As fat blocks the airways so does your breathing, which equals the disorder.
Narrow airway: Naturally, some people are born with a narrow airway; if you are one of such, you only must manage your breathing. On the other hand, the airways can become narrowed when the throat muscles, like the tonsils, enlarge.
Age: As most people grow older, you become more prone to fall sick or contact several diseases; the same goes for sleep apnea. All types of Reddit sleep apnea occur more in older people.
Neck structure: Your neck structure can sometimes affect the size in general, contributing to the space and passage flow of your airways. Sleep apnea is inevitable when the air struggles to get out of your airways.
Smoking: If you’re a smoker, it places you at three times more risk of getting sleep apnea than a person that doesn’t smoke. Smoking makes your airway inflamed, and this disrupts breathing.
Other medical conditions: Being unwell increases your chances of getting sleep apnea. So, if you struggle with hormonal disorders, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, or high blood pressure, it might make sleep apnea target you. Also, you are at risk if you’ve previously had a stroke, congestive heart failure, or managed type 2 diabetes.
Alcohol and sedatives, opioid intake: Taking such substances might not cause sleep apnea, amplifying the condition. Taking them will relax your throat muscles further to increase having episodes of obstructive sleep apnea.
Falling under the male gender: Research has shown that men are more like to have sleep apnea than women. It is still unclear if this finding is linked to the difference in body structures—the risk of women-only increases after experiencing menopause.
Congested nasal way: When you usually struggle with breathing, your risk of getting sleep apnea increases. Just as your struggle to breathe while awake, do you would when you fall asleep.
Health Complications Associated With Reddit Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a grave medical condition, but having it can lead to other health complications. You might experience the following conditions.
High Blood Pressure to Heart Problems
Sleep apnea makes the oxygen level in your blood drop, which triggers your blood pressure to go up. It puts a strain on your heart and might give you abnormal heartbeats, heart attacks, and stroke. With time the spells of low oxygen levels in the bloodstream affect the heartbeat and lead to death.
Problems With Your Liver
Reddit sleep apnea affects the liver, showing scarring signs also called fatty liver disease. When you struggle with sleep apnea, you might also tamper with the results of tests carried out on your liver function.
The bouts of waking up multiple times during the night affect your sleep, so you are never well-rested. So, during the day, you will feel exhausted, tired, and maybe weak. This makes participating in daily activities hard and drastically affects your work and family life.
Sleep apnea is a struggle no one must go through, as it changes your life in general. Asides from disturbing your family members with snores, you can also have several other complications like high cholesterol levels and insulin resistance.
Treatment For Sleep Apnea
There are different approaches to managing sleep apnea effectively. If yours is caused by weight and life choices, the doctor can advise you to make specific changes to improve your sleep. However, when the sleep apnea is severe, you will need to under some medical treatments.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
This machine is one of the most widely used tools to aid better sleeping habits. It comes with a mask that you attach to the nose that produces air pressure that keeps your airway open. In addition to helping you breathe better, CPAP also reduces your snoring.
You can invest in oral appliances usually available at the dentist’s office to open your throat while you sleep. This will help to improve your breathing.
Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV)
It is an intelligent device that studies and learns your breathing pattern. So, while you sleep, the machine uses air pressure to normalize your breathing pattern and prevents it from stopping.
Other drastic measures can treat sleep apnea like jaw repositioning, shrinking of your tissues, implants, and tracheostomy. You can also choose to take some medications like zolpidem as prescribed by a sleep specialist physician.
Reddit sleep apnea is a social space where people discuss their struggles with the condition. When properly managed, you can live comfortably with it, but it can cause health problems when left unattended. If you notice excessively fatigued or a family member has complained about your sleeping pattern, you should see a doctor.
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