Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

With almost 15 million cases of coronavirus and over 280,000 deaths in the U.S., we have fortunately learned much about COVID-19 prevention measures and treatments since the early days of the pandemic, and a vaccine is now in sight. Most of our knowledge regarding  risk factors for worse outcomes, include immunocompromised status, diabetes, older age and high blood pressure.

One risk factor remains hidden in plain sight: obstructive sleep apnea.

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How Serious is Sleep Apnea?

How Serious is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a seriously dangerous sleep disorder. It’s causing more than 18 million people to be at risk for further health problems as a result. But how serious is sleep apnea? Besides the mind-boggling figure mentioned earlier, what else about this chronic disorder makes is so dangerous?

Those are the questions we are going to answer in this article. We are going to talk about the seriousness of sleep apnea, and how so many go undiagnosed. On top of that, we’re also going to discuss the medical conditions that escalate because of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is ignored because so many aren’t aware of how serious it is. After this article you will have a command and awareness of sleep apnea, knowing exactly what you must do to get help.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep. There are 3 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome.

When you compare them to each other the symptoms they cause can overlap. However, there specific differences to be aware of. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a relaxation of throat muscles that block your upper airway as you sleep. This is the most common.

Up next is Central Sleep Apnea is the lack of communication between the brain and the central nervous system. Because of this disconnection your brain does not receive the signal it needs to stimulate breathing. This is severe.

Lastly, Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a mix of both OSA and CSA. This is the most severe because there are two impairments preventing quality sleep to focus on.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

When sleep is impaired your health and wellness suffer. After all, how can you be happy or do anything safely when you are deprived of quality rest? Here are some symptoms you want to pay attention to.

Difficulty staying focused or paying attention throughout the day.

  1. Difficulty keeping your attention on tasks throughout the day.
  2. Waking up gasping for air from a nap or in the middle of the night.
  3. Difficult time insomnia or sleeping through the night.
  4. Early morning headaches.
  5. Interrupting partners or spouses from their rest because of noisy snoring.
  6. You wake and have excessive dry mouth.
  7. You suffer from hypersomnia (severe tiredness during the day).

The Seriousness of Sleep Apnea

The list above shows 7 reasons sleep apnea can’t be taken lightly. But these symptoms lead to very troublesome medical conditions and lifetime problems if left unchecked. What is even more disturbing is that childhood sleep apnea is on the rise. By you becoming aware of the signs, symptoms, and health concerns sleep apnea causes you may help your son or daughter or someone else’s.

Sleep apnea ranges between mild, moderate, and severe. Often many start out mild, and with proper attention can keep it that way. Keep that in mind when reviewing this list. Because complete neglect is a large reason for the condition worsening.

Chronic Heart Failure

With a sudden lack of oxygen circulated throughout the body from sleep apnea, the heart must work under stress.

It’s forced to pump faster and harder because of pressure build-up.

See, if you don’t breath the circulation cycle is stopped. This causes increased pressure and tissue death from lack of oxygen. On top of that, your blood begins to thicken. Because of carbon-dioxide increase in the blood. This forces your heart to work harder. Ultimately resulting in chronic heart failure.

Stroke

When your heart works harder, and your blood gets thinker blood begins to form. As these clots form, one could block blood flow to your brain. Causing a stroke.

Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases your chance of developing or worsening type 2 diabetes. This is because of insulin resistance associated with sleep apnea.

Note: Middle-aged and older men have a high risk of developing central sleep apnea according to the Mayo Clinic.

Innovation

Many of the car accidents and accidents that involve heavy machinery are because of sleep apnea. The daytime drowsiness and the lack of focus just for a split second are all it takes to change your life forever.

But what if there was a way to improve your sleep apnea concerns effortlessly, and without a big clunky CPAP machine blowing air into your stomach. You would be able to wake up refreshed, happy, and prevent all these medical concerns. Many of them haven’t been listed.

As you can see, sleep apnea is a huge problem left untreated. And recent research states that about 80% of the United States is undiagnosed. Drowsy driving is dangerous driving.

Dr. Levy of Sleep Better Columbus created a proven and innovative way to improve your sleep apnea, preventing further health deterioration.

A New Way to Improve Your Sleep Apnea Condition

Improving your health because of your awareness of how serious sleep apnea is must be crystal clear by now. So,let’s switch gears. And give you an alternative way of treating sleep apnea. Some love their CPAP mask and find great comfort in using it.

However, at the offices of Sleep Better Columbus, the Oral Appliance is making waves, and many are finding results when traditional treatment did not work. The oral appliance is much like a mouthpiece, it’s fitted to you, it’s much more comfortable to use, and you don’t need a big machine by the bedside.

It works by position your jaw forward and making your airway free of obstruction. This is an FDA approved medical device. What is fantastic is the compliant rate of use compared to the CPAP. Because of the caring and attentive staff at Sleep Better Columbus, you will receive an oral appliance that is comfortable. They also will follow up to make sure your sleeping patterns and testing improve by using it.

Oral Appliances are for patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Central Sleep Apnea involves the nervous system requiring other forms of care and resources used.

In Conclusion

The main question of how serious is sleep apnea can easily be answered… very serious. Not to mention, it’s also very dangerous if left untreated. It’s important going forward you pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. If you snore that is a sign to set and an appointment with the Sleep Better Columbus for a sleep study. The friendly staff will go over all your concerns and can also offer you a way to do your study at home.

 

If you are suffering from any of the other symptoms,it’s recommended you also reach out. Don’t ignore feeling unrested or the comment from your spouse that your snoring is getting worse. You don’t need an accident to happen at work before you get help. If you feel overly tired during the day that is a sign.  Sleep Better Columbus welcomes you to call (614) 362-7292.

What Happens at a Sleep Clinic?

What Happens at a Sleep Clinic?

Have you been having trouble sleeping? If you go to your doctor, they may recommend seeing a sleep specialist. And getting a sleep study conducted. But what happens at a sleep clinic? You can ask for some information from your Doctor. However, they may not know enough to put you at ease.

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous and a bit uneasy about sleep studies. You’re not alone, many uncertain feelings swirl around the minds of new sleep clinic patients.

In this article, we are going to ease your mind about what happens at a sleep clinic and what sleep specialists do during your study. Your new awareness will make your experience much more tolerable and keep your anxiety low.

So, let’s get started by finding out exactly why your Dr. would recommend a sleep specialist in the first place.

When Is A Sleep Specialist the Best Decision?

If you have been trouble sleeping for at least 3 weeks,it’s time to see your doctor. Deciding to see a sleep doctor will depend on what disorder you doctor thinks you have. There are up to over 80 sleep disorders documented but we will discuss the 4 most common.

If your primary doctor suspects you have, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). These four disorders can severely harm your overall health if left untreated. This is when you will receive a referral to see a sleep specialist.

Note: Sleepwalking is another disorder that many suffer from that sleep specialist study and treat.

Let’s briefly go over the top 4 sleep disorder.

  1. Insomnia – This is a sleeping disorder where you do not sleep, your body and mind are tired, but you cannot fall asleep for long periods of time.
  2. Narcolepsy – This is when you can fall asleep at any time. If you are in a relaxing position you can fall asleep, even while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. It is sudden.
  3. Sleep Apnea – This is a disorder the causes you to stop breathing as you sleep, it can happen because of physiological characteristics like weight, neck circumference, or abnormally small airway. It can also be from a neurological disorder when your brain and nervous system don’t communicate during sleep.
  4. Restless Leg Syndrome – This is a condition that causes an uncontrollable sensation to move your legs, this usually happens because of feeling uncomfortable in some way. Happens primarily in the evenings when resting.

What is A Sleep Specialist?

It is common that sleep specialists are in the psychology or medical field respectively. They normally hold degrees such as Ph.D., MD, or DO and also hold the esteemed credential from the American Board of Sleep Medicine.

These medical professionals focus on sleeping disorders and use special techniques to determine what is happening to you as you sleep.

In a later section, we uncover exactly what happens at a sleep clinic when a sleep study is done.

Based on your symptoms and your explanation to your Dr about not getting enough sleep to feel well-rested. And having lower energy and focus throughout your day. Your primary care physician, internist, or family doctor will send you to a sleep specialist to get further details about the sleeping disorder.

What Happens When You See a Sleep Specialist?

The sleep study is a noninvasive exam done overnight. This study allows doctors to monitor what happens to you as you sleep and monitor your brain activity. It is common to go to a sleep clinic and meet with your specialist. You can set up for an overnight stay at the sleep clinic, and in some cases, you can do a sleep study from the comfort of your own home.

When you go to see a sleep doctor, they will begin the appointment with a series of questions that funnel down to a specific purpose. They are trying to see if your symptoms qualify you for a specific type of sleeping test. This test is called a polysomnogram and it’s given to help diagnose what your brain waves are doing when you sleep.

That’s not all. You also have other electrodes placed all over your body in various areas. A total of 25 to be exact. The electrodes not only monitor your brainwaves. But, eye movement, muscle twitching, chest wall movement, and airflow as you breathe through your nose and mouth.

The Atmosphere

If you choose to sleep at the clinic you will be given a room that is comfortable, dark, and decorated like a bedroom, normally you are asked to come a few hours before your bedtime. You can bring anything you want that makes you feel comfortable as you sleep.

Just before you go to bed, the sleep study technician places the electrodes we talked about earlier. The electrodes don’t hurt in any way and you still have enough room to move comfortably in your bed.

Polysomnographic technology specialists will monitor you as you sleep throughout the night. Just in case you need to use the bathroom or something else you made need. The technologist gathers all the information and gives it to the dr.

Next Steps

Now that you know what happens at a sleep clinic what happens next?

Well, first the doctor will review your test, you normally will make a follow-up appointment for 2 weeks out. So,you’re the sleep doctor can review the test and come up with a diagnosis if there is one.

On your follow up visit your sleep doctor will discuss your results, the diagnosis, and their recommendations. For example, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea you will then be fitted and ordered a mask. At Sleep Better Columbus, you will be given one on one professional and caring attention.

The services and options available for sleep apnea are endless. You can find a CPAP device that will be comfortable, and affordable. You can also select an Oral Appliance that doesn’t evolve a mask or a machine (for OSA only).

 

Dr. Levy has been servicing the Columbus area for years and welcomes you to call and set an appointment. If you are suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above. If you’re feeling sluggish, have a lack of energy after sleeping, or your doctor recommends you see sleep specialist call (614) 362-7292 today.

 

What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea

What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea

Have you been having a difficult time sleeping lately? You may say to yourself it’s just stress, or snoring runs in your family and shrugs it off. But you can be making a big mistake, you can have sleep apnea and if you don’t know what happens when you have sleep apnea you need to read this entire article.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects your breathing pattern as you sleep. This is a chronic disorder that so many people have, but 80% go undiagnosed, which causes further medical problems leading to chronic disorders that cause premature death.

So, if your partner tells you to snore, or you have difficulty breathing at night when you sleep, or you just can’t seem to get through the day without feeling like you have no energy to continue on, you might have sleep apnea.

This article is going to tell you what happens in your body when you have sleep apnea, what causes it, who’s at risk for it, and how you can get help from a specialist.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that prevents you from breathing as you sleep. The word apnea means “no breathing”. When you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea there can be 3 different categories of sleep apnea you will find yourself in. After you find out the type of sleep apnea you have, it then is determined if it’s a mild, moderate or severe.

The three types of sleep apnea are:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  2. Central Sleep Apnea
  3. Mixed Sleep Apnea (Complex Sleep Apnea)

These types of sleep apnea have a category of mild, moderate, or severe depending on your results from testing. We will talk about testing later.

Now you know what sleep apnea is, let’s learn a little bit about causes it.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The types of sleep apnea are caused by three separate reasons, they each work differently and must be handled specifically to the type.

For instance, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by relaxation of the throat muscles as you sleep, this causes your airway to be blocked. This obstructs airflow partially or entirely.

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when communication between the brain and the central nervous system has a problem communicating when you are sleep. Moreover, because you’re not told to breathe you are holding your breath until you gasp for air.

The last type of sleep apnea is mixed. This happens to be a combination of OSA and CSA. This is the most severe.

Some easy to recognize symptoms are:

  1. Headaches first thing in the morning
  2. Snoring so loud you wake yourself up or others
  3. Excessive sleepiness during the day
  4. An inability to focus on tasks during the day

These are just a few, there are many more, speak with your primary care doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Just like anything health-related, there are risk factors that increase your chances of having sleep apnea, so you must pay attention so you can see the signs and get help if needed.

A study showed that 4% of men and 2% of women have sleep apnea however only about 10% seek help and treatment. This leaves so many people vulnerable to long-term health problems because of sleep apnea.

Risk Factors

Obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Being a male but as mentioned early women can have OSA to, higher likelihood after menopause.
  • Being an older adult, OSA happens more commonly in older people.
  • Family history plays a huge role if your family member has it you are at risk
  • Smoking increases your risk by more than 3 times what it would be if you did not smoke
  • Nasal problems increase chances, whether allergies or anatomical issues, this increases the risk.

Central Sleep Apnea:

  • Age plays a part, being older is a risk factor
  • Having a heart disorder increases your risk. For example, CHF (congestive heart failure).
  • Using narcotics and opioid medication can easily suppress the nervous system which increases the risk for CSA. For example, Methadone would increase the risk.

What is happening inside your body?

It’s time to discuss what’s happening inside your body when you have sleep apnea. As we said earlier sleep apnea stops you from breathing as you sleep. This begins to cut the oxygen supply to your brain.

Now we both know how important oxygen is for your brain. Studies show that after just 60 seconds of no oxygen to the brain, the damage is done that permanently alters the brain’s chemistry. When you are sleeping you may hold your breath for 10 seconds, 20 seconds or more.

As your brain becomes deprived of oxygen your heart works harder, increases blood pressure, and putting stress on your heart. You are also holding on to carbon dioxide which causes your blood to thicken over time, causing increase strain on the heart and poor circulation throughout the body.

Clots can form because of thinking blood, which can cause a stroke and ischemia (decrease blood flow throughout an organ) causing a heart attack or tissue death elsewhere in the body.

How Are You Diagnosed?

The best way to get diagnosed is to talk to your primary care physician about your sleeping patterns and how you feel throughout the day.

Loss of memory, being irritable, and insomnia are more symptoms that would help your doctor understand your situation. If your doctor wants to know more, he will refer you to a sleep specialist.

A skilled sleep specialist often is an MD specializing in the art of sleep medicine, and sleep disorders.

What You Can Expect from a Sleep Study

After being asked some questions by the sleep specialist, and you meet the requirements for a sleep study, you schedule a time to return a technician will put electrodes on your head and body. This monitors your brain waves, the increase of your chest wall as you sleep, and your airflow through your nose and mouth.

After your sleep study, your sleep doctor will view the results. They will diagnose you, giving you the next steps on how to improve your sleep. That can be through CPAP, Oral Appliance, or something else.

In Conclusion

Sleep apnea is serious, you learned what it is, how it can affect your body, and the risk factors involved. Sleep Better Columbus, Dr. Levy, and staff are here for. If you are suffering from sleep apnea or are unsure, we can help.

Speak with your physician to get a referral and let us help you. Or just give us a call at (614) 362-7292. We can answer any questions you may have about how sleep studies work. Knowing what happens when you have sleep apnea gives you the advantage to get help right now, so be like the other people walking around ignoring the signs. Use your awareness and improve your health today. Call us at (614) 362 – 7292.

What Health Problems Can Sleep Apnea Cause?

What Health Problems Can Sleep Apnea Cause?

What health problems can sleep apnea cause? Questions like these are asked by sleep study specialist. Doctors that focus on the disorders that interrupted sleep cause.

There are several thousand people around the globe that have sleeping disorders that wreak havoc on their bodies. Causing disease, stress, and other accidents that affect the people around them. You can be one of these people experiencing symptoms and promoting unforeseen health conditions indirectly and not even realize it.

In this article, you will learn what problems in your health sleep apnea will cause or worsen and what steps you can take to make sure you stop these disorders from getting worse or manifesting.

With this in mind, let’s begin with an overview of what sleep apnea is and then merge into how you can recognize the way you’re feeling, common symptoms sleep apnea causes, and how you can get the help you need.

 Do You Suffer from Sleep Apnea?

Getting the help, you need starts with knowing the answers to the questions you have. Ironically you may suffer from sleep apnea and pawn it off as just a poor night’s rest. The word apnea literally means without breath. As a result, sleep apnea is the loss of breathing as you sleep. Knowing this you can see how serious this condition is.

You can suffer from 1 of 3 kinds of apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is when the muscles in your throat relax and your airway is obstructed (blocked) also called (OSA).
  • Central Sleep Apnea: This is a disconnect between your brain and your nervous system that signals you to breathe as you sleep (CSA).
  • Complex Sleep Apnea (Mixed): This form of sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and CSA apnea disorders.

You can be suffering from one of these sleep disorders, you can stop breathing multiple times throughout the night. Consequently, the longer the apnea time lasts the more severe the case.

What about symptoms? How can you tell if sleep apnea is something you should worry about? In the next section, we briefly highlight some symptoms.

Do You Suffer from Sleep Apnea?

You might, and if you do this brief list will give you some evidence to move forward, in your research to get help. The symptoms can overlap between Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep apnea. Keep in mind OSA is the most common predominately found in men.

Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

  1. Difficulty staying focused or paying attention throughout the day.
  2. Waking up in the middle of the night, or from a nap gasping for air.
  3. Difficult time staying asleep or have insomnia.
  4. Morning headaches are often a reason of sleep apnea.
  5. Snoring excessively loud, interrupting partners or spouses from their rest.
  6. You are very irritable after you wake up.
  7. You have an extremely dry mouth when you wake up.
  8. Day time sleepiness is increased.

In this list we have given you a few of the most common symptoms, experiencing these symptoms is a sign you should see a sleep study specialist. The sleep study test At Sleep Better Columbus can gauge what your body is doing and select the best steps to take moving forward.

After all, the prevention of disease is just as important as maintenance.

Leading us into what sleep apnea can cause. The risk factors because of sleep apnea are high and a price you don’t want to pay. Let’s find out exactly what’s involved if sleep apnea goes untreated.

What Health Concerns Does Sleep Apnea Cause or Worsen?

Sleep apnea left untreated can affect anyone suffering from it. You are not exempt, if you have this chronic disorder and you ignore it, your health will deteriorate because of it. Being excessively overweight, a thick neck circumference, or an abnormally smaller airway are just a few risk factors associated with OSA.

Heart problems and high blood pressure – When you stop breathing your body is no longer receiving oxygen, this decrease in blood oxygen levels adds stress on your heart and causes it to increase your blood pressure OSA increases your chances of hypertension.

Liver problems – If you suffer from sleep apnea you can increase scarring on your liver.

A decrease in brain functions – Oxygen is essential for the brain, in an emergency a brain that is deprived of oxygen (Anoxia)  for 60 seconds or more experiences brain damage. And will never be the same again. Adding that up over hundreds of nights of sleep with apnea paints a horrific picture.  Loss of memory and other cognitive skills will suffer because of sleep apnea.

Type 2 Diabetes – Your risk for developing type 2 diabetes becomes higher, it’s been shown that sleep apnea reduces insulin resistance.

Cardiovascular Disease – Sleep apnea increases your risk or worsens cardiovascular disease. The fact is without oxygen in a constant flow, tissues of the body die. And the brain decides to only pump blood to the vital organs eliminating supply to those areas of the body that are less vital for sustaining life.

As you can see if you suffer from sleep disorders it doesn’t just give you a headache, it can and will affect your health over a lifetime.

In Conclusion

Fail to pay attention to how you feel and your sleeping patterns can severely impede your health, destroy a relationship and cause you to injure others because of lack of sleep if you’re operating a car or machinery at work. In this article you learned what sleep apnea is, and that there are three primary sleep disorders.

Secondly, you can see getting help is available to you through Sleep Better Columbus. Dr. Levy and the compassionate staff have been helping sufferers of sleep apnea and snoring for years with innovative and helpful technology.

This makes it easy for you to improve quickly. And even get a sleep study done in the comfort of your own home. Give them a call at (614) 362-7292 and let them invite you into a one on one relationship that caters to your needs. What can sleep apnea cause is a frightening question?  But you don’t have to find the answers alone.