Sleep Apnea: Natural Treatment, Online Free Test, Causes, And Symptoms:- Many people I see are worried they might have Sleep Apnea but don’t know what the symptoms are.
Today, I will go through the warning signs of Sleep Apnea and teach you how to fix Sleep Apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea And Who Gets It?
Sleep Apnea is short for Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a very common sleep problem where your airways narrow in the night and your breathing stops for anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds but may go up to a minute or more.
It affects about 4% of adult men and 2% of adult women.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factor
The number one risk factor for Sleep Apnea is obesity, followed by smoking, an underactive thyroid, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in women.
What Is The Main Cause Of Sleep Apnea?
Obesity or excess weight does two things to your body.
Firstly, when your airway muscles relax during sleep, the excess soft tissue blocks the upper airway which stops your breathing. Your oxygen levels fall, which triggers carbon dioxide to build up and this switches your brain to wake up slightly, to start breathing again.
Secondly, tummy fat or abdominal obesity has been shown to reduce the size of your lungs, which makes it harder for breathing and air movement.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Sleep Apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, every night your brain has to wake up hundreds of times to get your breathing started again.
This leads to broken, poor quality sleep. Your body is doing a night-time marathon without your knowledge.
You will notice: extreme daytime sleepiness, to the point where some patients have car accidents from falling asleep while driving.
- Lack of concentration and mental functioning during the day
- Dry mouth and morning headaches
- Depression and low mood
- Decreased sex drive or Erectile Dysfunction
- Getting up frequently at night to pass urine
- Your partner may notice that you snore loudly
- You have choking episodes and that you stop breathing for periods
I Snore, Does That Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is very common amongst healthy people, and isn’t a good predictor of Sleep Apnea.
So most people who snore don’t have Sleep Apnea, but most people with Sleep Apnea snore – if that makes sense!
Are There Tests For Sleep Apnea?
The first thing you should do if you think you have Sleep Apnea is to take a quick online questionnaire, which is free. Sleep Apnea Online Test.
This will gives you an idea of the severity of your symptoms and is helpful for your doctor. From there, they may want to refer you for a Sleep Study, that records your oxygen levels, heart rate, and other markers during your sleep, to confirm the severity of your Sleep Apnea.
This is important for the next treatment steps, which I’ll talk about really soon. As often, you need a sleep study first to qualify for funded treatments.
How Can You Cure Sleep Apnea Naturally?
There are five things you can start doing today.
1. Lose Weight.
Seriously I know I’m a broken record about this, but it is the simplest way to treat and cure Sleep Apnea.
Losing weight, if you are overweight, will also help with high blood pressure, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Acid Reflux, which are all associated with Sleep Apnea too.
2. Reduce Alcohol.
Not drinking alcohol for four to six hours before bed is something to try. In theory, alcohol extends the breathing pauses of Sleep Apnea.
3. Stop Sedatives.
Again sedatives or sleeping tablets, like Benzodiazepines and Opioids, can make it harder for the brain to wake up when it realizes there is no oxygen around.
4. Quit Smoking.
Simply put: smoking does not help our lungs and smokers have three times increased risk of developing Sleep Apnea than non-smokers. So quitting smoking is one of the solutions.
5. Sleeping On Your Side.
This one was new to me. I looked into this when I was doing my research for you guys. There is a subtype of Sleep Apnea, that improves by sleeping on your side.
You can buy a whole bunch of paraphernalia to stop you from rolling onto your back. Like special pillows and alarms.
Bottom line is that side sleeping is evidence-based, but it won’t treat the underlying cause of Sleep Apnea.
I’ve Tried All Of Those Already, What Else Can I Do?
If you have already tried lifestyle treatments, or they don’t apply to you and you want to know how to get rid of Sleep Apnea there are three treatment options – CPAP, Oral Appliances, or surgery.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is a mask that you wear when you sleep, that is connected to a machine, that pumps room air into your nose, at a slight pressure.
This keeps your throat open at night when you are breathing. It is 100% effective at eliminating Sleep Apnea if you can tolerate the mask.
Now, the key with this treatment is to get a good mask fit and some people need a humidifier attachment to stop getting a dry mouth.
Also, it can cause nasal stuffiness which can be treated with nasal steroid sprays. It’s not for everyone, but it is considered to be the first-line medical treatment for Sleep Apnea.
This kind of sounds like whiteware for your mouth, but I assure you that it’s not! These are also called Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS).
They are a device that you put in your mouth when you go to bed. They work by pushing your jaw forwards, which opens up your airways to help you breathe and reduce snoring.
Some patients I see tolerate this better than CPAP and you can get the devices from pharmacies or have them custom made by dentists or orthodontists.
Surgery is only really useful if you have a clear upper airway problem. For example, enlarged tonsils causing Sleep Apnea.
Nasal surgery tends to be not very effective either unless someone has severe nasal obstruction. Although nasal surgery may help to be able to tolerate CPAP masks more effectively.
At the end of the day, it will depend on what you and your surgeon decide, after weighing up the risks and benefits.