What’s Happening to Me?

5 Way Seniors Can Fight Depression
June 15, 2017
Featured Residents – DD Babcock
July 1, 2017

WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?

 I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 9 to 12 months.  I used to be a major multi-tasker.  I never took naps.  I loved the challenge of organizing an event or project, planning a week or two of meals for my family, loved having out-of-town company, reading and a variety of other activities.

Now, I just feel fatigue and want to take multiple naps every day, have difficulty concentrating, have become forgetful and unorganized.  Planning one meal is a challenge.  The thought of out-of-town company is overwhelming.  If I try to read, I just fall asleep.  My blood pressure went sky high and I am now on blood pressure medication.  I’ve been diagnosed with heart disease.  And, my vision seems to be getting worse.

THE CULPRIT – SLEEP APNEA

My brain and body were not getting enough oxygen because my breathing was being interrupted.  I would actually stop breathing repeatedly during my sleep (52 times an hour, according to the sleep study I had).  Some people stop breathing more often than that.  It is a serious sleep disorder and it occurs during normal sleep when your throat muscles relax.  The airway can get blocked and it slows or stops the movement of air, and the oxygen in your blood drops.

Untreated sleep apnea can have very serious long-term health effects.  It can be deadly.  If you get treatment, your blood pressure may go back to normal, you will get relief from the constant fatigue you have been experiencing, your thinking should become clearer and you may even lose weight.  You should be able to plan and initiate tasks more efficiently, process information and work more effectively and your memory and learning capabilities should improve.

A CPAP machine is the most common treatment, which sends pressurized air into your nose and throat at night and makes it easier for you to keep breathing while you sleep.  CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure”.  Your sleep study will determine the amount of pressure you need.    Sleep apnea will continue to be a problem for most people diagnosed, so it will need to be used regularly for good quality sleep and to avoid the serious complications associated with this disorder.  I’m looking forward to getting my machine soon and seeing improvement in the quality of my life.

HEALTH RISKS:

 

                                                                                                             High blood pressure                                                                      Heart disease
Stroke                                                                                                   Irregular heart beats
Heart attack                                                                                      Type 2 diabetes
Weight gain                                                                                       Adult asthma
Car accidents                                                                                    Worsening of ADHD

 

 

 

 

RISK FACTORS: (can affect any sex, race or age)

                                                                                                          Being male                                                                                            Excessive weight
Age above 40                                                                                        Large neck size (greater than 16-17 inches)
Enlarged tonsils or tongue                                                             Small jaw bone
Gastro esophageal reflux                                                                 Allergies
Sinus problems                                                                                    Family history of sleep apnea
Deviated septum                                                                                 Alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers
Smoking                                                                                                  High blood pressure

COMMON SYMPTOMS:

                                                                                                         Daytime sleepiness or fatigue (#1 symptom)                         Loud or frequent snoring
Silent pauses in breathing                                                               Choking or gasping sounds
Non-refreshing sleep                                                                         Restlessness during sleep
Insomnia                                                                                                 Morning headaches
Difficulty concentrating                                                                    Memory loss
Forgetfulness                                                                                          Irritability
Depression                                                                                              Acid reflux
Waking during the night to go to the bathroom                    Breathing through the mouth
Dry mouth/dry throat                                                                       Mood swings