A diagnosis of sleep apnea can change your life and daily habits, and leave you wondering why you are stricken with this condition. While sleep apnea can occur in people of all walks of life, there are some risk factors that you can control, and others you may not be able to do anything about. You can work to relieve some of these risk factors by living a healthier lifestyle and eliminating certain habits, like smoking and drinking.
Some of the risk factors that indicate a person is likely to suffer from sleep apnea include:
- Gender. Research has shown that men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women are. The risk for men can be two to three times more than the average woman. However, as women age, the risk factor for them increases. Post-menopausal women have a higher instance of sleep apnea than younger women who are still menstruating. Women who are overweight can also have a higher risk of sleep apnea than women of average weight.
- Genetic predisposition. If your parents suffered from sleep apnea, you can be at a higher risk to develop it yourself. One of the reasons for this is the shape of your airway. In some people, the throat passageway is narrow, leading the airway to be smaller and more likely to develop an obstruction. Other people have a short nasal passage, which leads to congestion and breathing problems when awake and sleeps apnea when sleeping. Swollen tonsils or adenoid glands can also restrict the airway, so if you have a history of these issues or never had your tonsils removed as a child, you can be more likely to suffer from sleep apnea as you grow older and these glands enlarge, blocking the flow of air.
- Excess body weight. People who are clinically obese have more trouble breathing in certain sleeping positions, as extra fat around the top of the neck can contribute to breathing obstructions. This is especially likely if you prefer to sleep on your back, as the amount of room left in the airway is much smaller in this position. In addition to making efforts to lose weight, sleeping on your side can help give relief from sleep apnea.
- Smoking tobacco products. Smoking can irritate the glands in the throat and lead to higher mucus production, which makes it harder for the airway to stay open. Smokers also retain more fluid in the upper part of the breathing organs, which constricts the airway. Overall, smokers are three times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than non-smokers.
- Use of certain medications. If you suffer from certain conditions that cause you to take opioid-based medication, these medications can contribute to your risk for sleep apnea. Discuss this possible side effect with your doctor if you take medications for chronic pain, such as methadone.
- Medical history. People who suffer from certain heart conditions have had a stroke in the past or who struggle with chronic pain can be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
To relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor will prescribe a treatment course that helps to keep your airway open as you sleep. Regular use of a CPAP machine will help to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea by providing a source of ongoing pressure to stop the airway from closing. Using the CPAP machine every night is the best way to ensure you get a proper, restorative sleep that helps your body and mind feel better.
Keep Your CPAP Machine Effective with VirtuCLEAN
Over time, regular use of your CPAP machine can cause dirt and moisture to build up within the unit. This can lead the unit to work less effectively as bacteria begins to bloom and spreads through the machine. To stop this from happening, its vital to use a cpap cleaner and sanitizer on a regular basis. Clean the mask and tubing as well as the machine to ensure that no bacteria can form and spread into the air you breathe as you sleep. A proper cpap cleaning device will eliminate all bacteria growth and help prolong the life of the unit.
Of all the cpap cleaning devices on the market, VirtuCLEAN is the fastest and easiest one to use. There’s no scrubbing or work to do. Just connect the VirtuCLEAN device to your CPAP machine, press the button and it begins working to sanitize all the parts of your machine. It couldn’t be simpler or easier.