If you struggle with sleep problems, it’s easy to attribute your tossing and turning and frequent wakings to stress or “something you ate.” While that may be the case if it happens sporadically, less than once a week, frequent wakings, excessive, ongoing fatigue, and an inability to focus are all signs that there’s a physical, chronic condition affecting your sleep. You may be suffering from sleep apnea which often requires therapy equipment to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” People with untreated sleep apnea experience frequent stops and starts to their breathing. In the most severe cases, breathing is interrupted hundreds of times in a night and the pauses may last up to a minute.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea which is the most common form and is caused when the throat muscles relax and the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain isn’t sending the appropriate signals to your respiratory system.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both central and obstructive apnea.
When someone has an apnea event, the brain briefly wakes them to begin breathing, but those frequent wakings result in broken, poor quality sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and other cardiovascular disease, plus weight gain, impotency, and frequent headaches. The ongoing fatigue associated with apnea can also put you at risk for memory problems and slowed response time which can lead to car accidents and other injuries.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with untreated sleep apnea. Your Charlotte doctor can prescribe CPAP machines and other types of sleep therapy equipment to help maintain your breathing and improve the quality of your rest.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Signs of sleep apnea are often observed by both the patient and people you live with, such as a spouse. You should speak to your physician immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime fatigue, including nodding off at your desk at work or even while eating, talking, or driving.
- Waking up tired, even after 6-8 hours of sleep.
- Inability to focus or concentrate, memory problems
- Mood and personality shifts
- Frequent headaches, especially in the morning or night
- Nocturia, excessive nighttime urination
Also, speak to your doctor if someone notices the following symptoms:
- Episodes of not breathing while you sleep, anywhere from five to 50 times in an hour
- Loud snoring (Nearly everyone with sleep apnea snores, though not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.)
- Restlessness, tossing, and turning during sleep
- Nighttime choking or gasping.
Solutions for Sleep Apnea
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, the severity and type of diagnosis affects your doctor’s recommendations. The most mild forms may improve with lifestyle changes like quitting smoking. Moderate to severe sleep apnea may require medical devices, such as a CPAP machine to assist with your breathing at night.
The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a common, reliable way to treat sleep apnea. These are electrical devices that use a gentle air flow to keep your soft tissues in the back of your throat from collapsing to keep your airways open. While original machines were often cumbersome and uncomfortable, modern designs are more comfortable, and our Charlotte showroom has a vast array of CPAP machines available along with CPAP supplies to improve the effectiveness and comfort of your machine.
Overview of the latest CPAP device, the ResMed AirSense 11 Autoset CPAP
Contact Us for Sleep Therapy Equipment in Charlotte
If you are suffering from exhaustion or disturbed sleep, talk to your physician about a sleep study to diagnose possible apnea. If your physician prescribes a CPAP machine or other form of sleep therapy, we have an experienced team of respiratory therapists and customer service professionals here to provide personalized solutions to connect you with the right equipment. If you want to end fatigue and sleep peacefully, contact us today at (704) 846-7503 or fill out the form below to get started!