Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sleep Apnea vs Depression

For many years I had felt exhausted, suffering from poor sleep and was told I was a loud snorer. See: Why do I snore for more information. As I got older I began to gain weight because I was always too busy to exercise. Putting on 50 lbs in 10 years I no longer had any energy for an active life. Caffeine became my friend as I drank coffee and tea constantly to stay awake, but eventually that stopped working. In addition to my declining health I developed hyperhidrosis a condition where you constantly sweat. My family life began to suffer because all I wanted to do was sleep which is a symptom of depression. I had a hard time falling asleep easy, but once I did I wanted sleep nine or more hours.

[caption id="attachment_1505" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep Apnea vs Depression is like Snoring vs CPAP"][/caption]

Finally I went to a doctor and he tried several types of anti-depressants that helped but my symptoms didn’t go away. On a recent flight I found that I slept more soundly when I was in an upright position, so I consulted with my physician and he suggested that I have a sleep study. The results of the sleep study found that my symptoms were due to lack of sleep from sleep apnea and not depression.

What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a general term for breathing problems that occur during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing throughout the night up to 100 times an hour. Sleep apnea affects approximately 20 million adults and has serious negative health effects when present with other conditions. Sleep apnea vs depression may cause the same symptoms but many patients are misdiagnosis with depression instead of sleep apnea. If you are suffering from heart failure, high blood pressure or diabetes treating your sleep apnea may improve these conditions in addition to making you feel better.

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include; excessive afternoon sleepiness, loud snoring, irregular breathing during sleep, restless sleep, difficulty concentrating, depression, morning headaches, hyperhidrosis, high blood pressure and gaining weight. Many people are not even aware that they have sleep apnea. Often it is their bed partner that is first to witness their symptoms of sleep apnea.

Good news is that sleep apnea can be treated easily. I was prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy machine for my condition. After starting therapy, my quality of life improved immediately. I felt much better after my very first night on therapy. My doctor began withdrawing me from my depression medication. Now after three years I am no longer on medication, no longer feel depressed and have renewed energy. Now I only have one cup of coffee in the morning and stick to a healthy diet and exercise program. Over a year of exercising I lost 20 lbs!

What is CPAP therapy? CPAP therapy is the most widely accepted treatment for sleep apnea. A bedside device that gently delivers pressurized air through a nasal mask or pillow system. The pressure acts like an air splint to keep the upper airway open to prevent apnea. CPAP treatment does not involve drugs or surgery. It has help numbers of people enjoy a healthier night sleep and healthier life. Many people experience the results of the therapy quickly, often after one night of use. There is no cure for sleep apnea at this time.

In addition to using a CPAP machine your doctor may recommend throat exercises. Your doctor is the best person to decide which throat exercises are suitable for you depending on the nature and location of your apnea. There are all kinds of throat exercises for sleep apnea since these exercises focus on throat muscles to reduce fat accumulation that obstructs normal breathing. Throat exercises for sleep apnea work the soft palate, the palatopharyngeal arch, tongue and nasopharynx. Some of these exercises can involve singing that works the lax muscles in the upper region of the throat. Yawning repeatedly is another exercise that helps stretch relevant muscles. Remember it may take awhile for you to see the effects from these exercises, so it is important to be patient and diligent for the best results

[caption id="attachment_1504" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Didgeridoo for sleep apnea - circular breathing to improve airway function"][/caption]

Some other throat exercises for those that have trouble with CPAP is learning to play an aboriginal instrument called the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that is common among the indigenous people of northern Australia. It is a cylindrical, wooden instrument that may be from 3 to 10 feet in length. The didgeridoo is played with a special breathing technique called circular breathing. This involves breathing in through the nose while expelling air out of the mouth using the tongue and cheeks. Vibrating lips will produce a continuous hum that a skilled player can sustain for as long as desired, with the supply of air constantly replenished.

In a Swiss study published in the British Medical Journal, it was found that didgeridoo playing is an effective alternative treatment for moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It was theorized that the circular breathing technique may improve muscular tone of the upper airway and reduces the collapsibility that is common in sleep apnea. More information about the Didgeridoo Store Ultimate Didgeridoo Package 1.5Didgeridoos) and read the customer's reviews.

In addition to the CPAP, stretching the throat by yawning, tongue pushing, vowel repetition or contracting your muscles in the back of your throat may strengthen the airway passage and prevent further constriction along with reducing the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.

The content provided in Sleep Apnea vs Depression is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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