Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects up to 18 million Americans. If you have sleep apnea, you may experience hundreds of unconscious pauses in breathing while you sleep. Understanding the risk factors for sleep apnea and reducing your personal risks can help you prevent this disorder
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in those who are overweight because excess fat in the neck reduces the available space for the trachea. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about developing a healthy weight loss program. Even if you are currently at a healthy weight, maintain a regular exercise routine to prevent weight gain.
Avoid Alcohol or Medication to Help You Sleep
The use of alcohol and some types of medication as a sleep aid can increase your chances of developing sleep apnea. Alcohol and muscle relaxants may cause the tissues at the back of your throat to relax more than necessary, cutting off your trachea during sleep. If you currently use medication to help you sleep, discuss any concerns with your doctor to minimize your risk of developing sleep apnea.
Stop Smoking or Don’t Start
The chemicals in nicotine cause the muscles of the trachea and throat to relax during sleep. If these muscles relax too far, sleep apnea may result. Avoid the use of tobacco to prevent sleep apnea and other health issues related to smoking. If you are currently a smoker, discuss options for quitting with your physician.
Sleep On Your Side
When you lie on your back, gravity combines with the natural relaxation of the throat during sleep to promote blockage of the windpipe. Sleeping on your side helps to keep your airway open and reduces the likelihood of sleep apnea episodes.
As one of the only accredited sleep disorder facilities in Las Vegas, Zeeba Sleep Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. You can schedule an appointment or sleep study by calling (702) 242-1562 or clicking on our web contact form.
Photo courtesy: ReachLocal