Sleep Apnea affects more than 18 million Americans — and it not only hampers the ability to get a good, restful night’s sleep, but it can also lead to diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and more.
There are several ways to treat sleep apnea, but these days, many doctors urge the use of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) — the “gold standard” of available remedies while sleeping. It pushes air into the nasal cavities through a mask or tube to keep them open. It helps maintain a healthy level of oxygen in the bloodstream, which is a necessity for all of your organs.
Of course, there remain four simple, but basic, recommendations to keep in mind. Number one, as with so many health problems, lose weight. Extra fat around the neck can make your airway narrower. Also, stop smoking! Smoking increases swelling in the upper airway, which can worsen snoring and apnea.
Number three is a surprise… avoid sleeping on your back. It can cause your tongue to fall back and your tonsils, or other tissue, to collapse and block the airway. And, as always, limit alcohol and medications like pain killers and sedatives, which enhance sleep apnea by relaxing the airway muscles. Good luck!