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Sleep Apnea: Warning Signs and Top Risk Factors You Must Know

Sleep apnea is a condition which causes difficulty in breathing when asleep. Read here to know some warning signs of this condition and how to treat sleep apnea at home.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Sleep apnea may be the reason why you wake up with a sore throat
  2. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can reduce sex drive
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause difficulties in breathing while you are asleep. If your partner or roommate or sibling or anyone sleeping next to you has told you that you snore loudly, or if you feel extremely tired even after getting a full 8-hours sleep, then it you may have sleep apnea. There are three kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common type of sleep apnea which occurs when throat muscles relax while sleeping. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is unable to send signals to muslces that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It occurs when someone is suffering from both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Following are some of the common warning signs of sleep apnea


  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with either a very sore or dry throat
  • Feeling sleepy on waking up
  • Lack of energy and lethargy during the day
  • Waking up with a sharp headache
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Sleep apnea can make you wake up with a headache and feel tired all day
Photo Credit: iStock

  • Feeling restless during sleep
  • Feeling sleepy while driving
  • Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Mood swings and forgetfulness
  • Reduced sex drive

Also read: Women With Sleep Apnea Are At Greater Cancer Risk: Study

Sleep apnea: top risk factors you must know

1. Being overweight can put you at risk of sleep apnea. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Deposits of fat in your airways can obstruct your breathing when asleep.

2. If you have a thicker neck, you may be at risk of narrower airways. You can also have narrow airways if you have tonsillitis or adenoids.

3. Men are twice or thrice as likely to have sleep apnea as comared to women, reports MayoClinic. Risks of sleep apnea increase in women when they are about to hit menopause or are overweight.

4. Some people have sleep apnea in their family history. As you get older, risk of sleep apnea also increases.

5. Smoking puts you at risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Smoking increases inflammation and fluid retention in upper airway.

6. Nasal congestion can put you at risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Congestion in nasal passages can make breathing through nose difficult.

Also read: Sleep Apnea Can Cause Diabetes, Hypertension

Sleep apnea: lifestyle remedies that can help you get rid of it

Improving your lifestyle, losing weight and quitting smoking are some effective home remedies to get rid of sleep apnea. Here are other home remedies that can also help:

1. Try yoga and be regular exercise: Regular exercise and being physically active can give a boost to your energy levels and strengthen your heart. Breathing exercises and yoga are specifically beneficial for reducing sleep apnea symptoms.

2. Maintain a healthy weight: Avoid consumption of refined carbs and sugar. Cut down on daily calorie intake and switch to home-made natural foods as part of your weight loss diet. Do both cardio and weight training exercises. Diet and exercise can together help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

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Maintaining a healthy weight can help in reducing symptoms of sleep apnea
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 8 Important Things To Know About Sleep Apnea

3. Try a different sleep position: Try to either sleep on your back or with your head at an elevated level. You can discuss your sleep positon with your doctor as well.

4. Quit alcohol and smoking: Alcohol relaxes throat muscles that control your breathing. This can lead to snoring and interrupt your sleep cycle and lead to inflammation in your airways. Risks of sleep apnea associated with smoking have been discussed above. Quit these sedentary lifestyle habits to reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

If these sleep apnea home remedies do not show results, consult your doctor. Sleeping well is important for your overall health and well-being. Treat sleep apnea at the earliest for a good night's sleep.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 

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