One of the Afflicted 25 Million? How to Keep Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea from Ruining Your Life
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a devastating health condition that affects nearly 25 million adults in the United States. When left untreated, it will increase one’s risk of many secondary complications including obesity, depression, severe mood swings, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you have recently been diagnosed with OSA or believe that you might have this condition, then you need to start making some lifestyle changes to improve your quality of sleep.
Schedule a Sleep Study
Just because an individual snores or has an unusual breathing pattern while they are sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean that they have sleep apnea. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, a sleep study must be carried out. During one of these studies, you will sleep in a quiet room while your vital signs are tracked. Doctors will then use that information to determine exactly what is taking place while you are sleeping and how it can be treated.
Stay at a Healthy Weight
Obesity is the single biggest risk factor for sleep apnea, and anyone who has been diagnosed with this condition should immediately make changes to their dietary habits. Filling your plate with lean protein sources and fresh produce will make it easier to safely and consistently lose weight. Those who are having a tough time losing weight should speak with a registered dietitian. These specialists can help you come up with a personalized diet plan that meets all of your nutritional needs.
Alter Your Sleep Mechanics
Obstructive sleep apnea takes place when the airways are blocked by the nearby soft tissue. For some people, that is caused by the position they are sleeping in. Many of those who have this condition will benefit from sleeping on adjustable beds, like those from Dreamland, that straighten their breathing passages. Some of these beds even have indentations that allow you to sleep on your side with your head slightly raised.
Avoid Stimulants and Depressants
Any foods or beverages that impact your heart rate or breathing pattern could exacerbate your sleep apnea is well. Most specialists agree that those who have sleep apnea must avoid alcohol and tobacco products entirely. You will also need to limit how much caffeine you consume later on in the day. If you have been prescribed any medications that could potentially affect your sleep patterns, then you should speak with your doctor about alternative prescriptions.
This particular type of sleep apnea can’t always be reversed with lifestyle changes. There may come a point when you need to consider professional treatments or services such as a CPAP machine or nasal surgery. Overcoming sleep apnea isn’t always easy, but getting better sleep will improve almost every other facet of your life.