Sleep Apnea: A Noisy Killer


There’s a common misconception out there that sleep apnea is something that just affects the elderly. But it’s a condition that affects all ages, characterized by an inability to breathe temporarily during sleep, and can be deadly.




There are several variations of sleep apnea. However, by far the most common is so-called obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where the muscles in the throat relax too much during sleep, cutting off the oxygen supply to the lungs. When the supply of oxygen to the lungs is interrupted, a signal is sent to the brain, waking the person up.


Prolonged episodes of sleep apnea can result in poor sleep and even death, and so it’s essential to nip the problem in the bud as soon as possible. The condition can also result in relationship problems, thanks to excessive snoring. Here is how science says the symptoms can be alleviated or solved.


Don’t Sleep On Your Back


About a quarter of people sleep on their back. But according to physician Reena Mehra, this is a bad idea if you suffer from sleep apnea. The reason for this, she says, is that when you sleep on your back, there’s a much higher chance that your airway will collapse and that a blockage will occur. She recommends people who have had a sleep apnea episode in the past sleep on either their side or their front.


Lose Weight


Obesity and sleep apnea are closely related to each other. The more you weigh, the more likely your windpipe is to collapse. So as with many conditions, losing weight can help. To get sleep apnea, you don’t actually have to be fat. Simply putting on muscle mass at the gym can cause sleep apnea to develop in susceptible people. Mehra says that, in general, a ten percent reduction in your weight will lead to a thirty percent improvement in your sleep apnea symptoms. She also points out that the opposite is true, and that an extra ten percent in weight will worsen sleep apnea by 30 percent.


Seek Intervention


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According to, some people experience severe bouts of sleep apnea which can result in things like obesity and heart attacks. In these situations, ignoring sleep apnea is not an option: the condition has to be dealt with immediately. Fortunately, there are operations designed to reduce the effects of sleep apnea and keep the airways open at night. Operations involve things like straightening the nasal septum, removing turbinates and interventions directly on the throat.


Participate In A Study


One of the best ways to get an accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea, says Doctor Mehra, is to take part in a study. In many of these studies, you’ll get to try novel treatments, like wearing a mask while you sleep designed to keep the airways open.


Avoid Alcohol




Finally, experts like Mehra suggest that people who are susceptible to sleep apnea avoid alcohol. Speaking on, she says that alcohol makes the condition worse and can result in severe side effects.


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