8 Things That Will Make Your Existing Sleep Apnea Worse

Sleep apnea is a leading worrisome sleep disorder in the world. The main symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring loudly, feeling tired after a whole night’s sleep, suddenly waking up in the middle of the night along with shortness of breath, headaches in the morning, irritability and insomnia. Many people ignore sleep apnea as something of little importance which they shouldn’t. According to a research, sleep apnea affects 22 million Americans in the world. Here are top 8 things that make sleep apnea worse. 

1. Denial

The main reason why people do not want to consult the doctor is that they are ignoring the signs and ignoring what the body is trying to tell them. People need to realize that it is not normal if they are getting a good night’s sleep every single day but are still feeling exhausted after it. It is most likely that sleeping disorder is the problem. The only way to verify this is to consult a doctor who will be giving you a number of tests to be done.

2. Weight

Obese people are four times more in danger to get sleep apnea as compared to those who are thin. The main reason why people ignore their weight being a problem is that when you are gaining weight you are not only adding fat deposits to your arms and abdomen but are also adding more bulk to your throat and neck area which makes it more likely for your airways to obstruct. Sleep apnea is not always caused by weight gain but is one of the major reasons why. Therefore, it is advised to keep an eye on the weighing machine.

3. Alcohol

One of the reasons why you are instructed by medical professionals to consume alcohol in moderation is because it is a muscle relaxant. Alcohol is going to make your muscles relax even more than usual making them more perilous to get obstructed. Alcohol can actually increase the duration of episodes of sleep apnea therefore, it should not be consumed before bedtime. Cutting down on alcohol may help as excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to other sleeping disorders.

4. Medicines

Some prescription medications have the same effect as alcohol in the sense that they lead to muscle relaxation along with increased snoring and sleep apnea. Medications such as sleeping pills make it more difficult to wake up from sleep at night. So if you are on sleeping pills and have sleep apnea than you need a greater amount of respiratory compromise to wake up leading to a longer and more painful episode of sleep apnea.

5. Age and Sex

Sleep apnea can happen at any age but it is may occur early in middle-aged and older people. The main reason for this is that as a person’s age increases, the elasticity and tone of the muscles is gradually lost leading to the softening of muscles of the throat which will then result in loss of strength of muscles and therefore easier clogging of the throat. Similarly, sex is also a factor. Men are twice likely to get sleep apnea than women. But women can also be at risk after weight gain or after menopause.

6. Family History

Genes have a weird way of shaping our lives. If you have a family history of developing sleep apnea, you may be at risk of having the disorder at some point in your life. This is like having a certain disease or cancer in the family that everyone can get sooner or later in the generations to come.

This especially occurs in children who develop sleep apnea. Since a narrowed neck may cause problems. However, an overly large neck may also lead to sleep apnea. According to research done by WebMD, men whose neck circumference is more than 17 inches and women whose neck circumference is more than 15 are at more risk to develop sleep apnea.

7. Smoking

Smokers are likely to get sleep apnea 2.5 times faster than those who don’t smoke. Smoking actually swells up tissues since it irritates the muscles in the airways. By irritating the mucosa in the throat, it leads to excess mucus production which leads to increased irritation and swelling of the throat thereby reducing the surface area for the air to come inside.

Therefore, it is advised for people who are already diagnosed with sleep apnea to cut down on it for a better quality of life.

8. Sleep Deprivation and Sleeping Position

Other major reasons include sleep deprivation and sleeping position. Sleep Deprivation is directly linked to sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation eventually leads to sleep apnea. This is why doctors always advise having a proper sleeping schedule. During the periods of deep sleep or REM, the body is at its most relaxed state which can lead to severe sleep apnea. Believe it or not, your sleeping position also has an effect on how severe your sleep apnea can be. 

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