Common Problems and Risks For Sleep Apnea Sufferers

Full face cpap mask

Sleep apnea is an incredibly common abnormality, where breathing stops for periods of time, due to a narrowing or collapsing airway, during sleep. This lack of air means oxygen is unable to reach the vital organs of the body. The body naturally tries to overcome the airway obstruction, which is what produces snoring in many people. Sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans, and as many as 1 in 50 individuals has an undiagnosed case.
You might believe that the worst scenario is keeping your partner awake with excessive snoring, but sleep apnea can actually have dire consequences. Those who have sleep apnea but remain untreated or undiagnosed are three times as likely to suffer from heart disease, and their risk of having a stroke is four times as likely than for those who are unafflicted. In fact, figures from the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimate that approximately 38,000 deaths occur every year as a result of sleep-apnea-related cardiovascular problems.
Luckily, there are many types of treatments for sleep apnea. To be diagnosed, patients can perform a home sleep test (where the subject is observed by a board-certified sleep physician in their own home) or an in-lab sleep study. Once the subject is confirmed to have sleep apnea, a treatment plan is put in place. Although there are many methods and treatments, for many adults, this involves CPAP. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, typically involves the use of a CPAP machine and CPAP mask. CPAP uses small, constant amounts of air pressure to keep the airways open and free of blockages.
For those who have used CPAP machines properly, treatment has proved successful. However, problems like adjustment issues, improper sizing, or skin irritation can lead to sleep apnea sufferers not using their machines regularly. Studies show that about half of all diagnosed sleep apnea sufferers who were prescribed CPAP machines stopped using them in one to three weeks. If you’ve used CPAP machines and find yourself frustrated, you should explore all options and types of CPAP masks before giving up; about half of sufferers prefer the use of nasal pillows instead of masks, so not all is lost if you find a mask doesn’t work for you. You also need to allow yourself time to adjust to wearing the machine during sleep. As many as 80% of sleep apnea patients reported that even when they used CPAP machines, they didn’t use them enough to keep them safe.
Adjusting to a sleep apnea machine can take a lot of time and patience, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. Don’t suffer with snoring and sleep issues. Get a diagnosis and start proper treatment today.

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