Sleep Apnea: The Secret Killer of the 21st Century?

Could sleep be actually doing your body more harm than good?

For many people, dreams are neither sweet nor peaceful, and stress and shifty economy are by no means the only reason for winks lost. It’s been estimated that sleep apnea affects as many as 3% of Canadian adults, which is alarming since the disorder is closely linked to increased risk of various conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, anxiety, and depression. And as though this wasn’t enough of a health scare, a recent study found sleep apnea to be linked to increased risk of premature death from all causes. But what exactly is sleep apnea, what are its common symptoms and risk factors, and how can it be most efficiently treated?

Try Not to Hold Your Breath: Sleep Apnea Types and Symptoms

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that’s often categorized into two different types, i.e. obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common and it occurs when the tongue and muscles surrounding the throat constrict the airway during sleep, thus interrupting breathing for over ten seconds at a time and preventing inhaled air from entering the lungs. The long pauses in between breaths can occur as many as several hundreds of times per night and are usually accompanied by loud snoring. Although excess weight is by far the most common cause of the disorder, other OSA risk factors include heredity, ethnicity, age, chin and jaw placement and/or size, and small upper airway diameter.

Central sleep apnea (CSA), on the other hand, is far less common and involves absence of signals from the nervous system for the respiratory system to make an effort and inhale air for longer than normal periods of time.

Unless diagnosed and treated on time, sleep apnea can result in reduced sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and problems focusing. Unfortunately, the list of health concerns doesn’t stop there.

Losing Sleep and Health, Too: The Tip of the Health Risk Iceberg

Low quality of nighttime rest and life in general are far from the only issue people suffering from sleep apnea are facing. Studies show that OSA can hamper endocrine function and contribute to weight gain and diabetes type 2, and it’s also a risk factor for certain cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.

A 2011 study found sleep apnea to be linked to increased risk of blood vessel abnormalities and impaired blood supply to the heart, both of which are a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Furthermore, a 2015 study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology showed that OSA can increase the likelihood of gout attack by a whooping 50%, while a study featured in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine stated that OSA treatment can lead to improvement of symptoms of moderate to severe depression in sleep apnea patients.

Sadly, adults aren’t the only population at risk. Sleep apnea affects children as well, which is a startling data since one of the prime culprits behind the sleep disorder is obesity, another silent 21st-century health hazard which is evolving into a global epidemic. In cases of juvenile sleep apnea, potential complications involve growth hormone level disturbances, attention deficit disorder, learning difficulties, and impaired intellectual development and cognitive function.

OSA and Risk of Early Death: Could Your Sleep Be Killing You?

In addition to elevated risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions, the seemingly benign sleep disorder can also increase the odds of premature death from all causes. A 18-year study by experts of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health showed death rate for patients with untreated OSA to be three times higher compared to that of non-OSA individuals. Furthermore, the findings showed that OSA patients with 30 or more pauses in between breaths per hour of sleep stand a five times higher risk of cardiovascular death than individuals who had less than five breathing interruptions per hour of sleep.

Stubborn Yet Highly Treatable: Most Efficient OSA Therapies

According to CPAP Clinic experts, continuous positive airwave pressure (CPAP) is currently the most effective therapy for sleep apnea. A nasal mask that limits throat obstruction and delivers pressurized oxygen to the airway, CPAP device is extremely efficient in lowering blood pressure and normalizing heart beat rate, thus minimizing cardiac damage and possibly even preventing heart disease. Nevertheless, a 2016 SAVE trial showed that CPAP treatment can’t reduce death rate for sleep apnea patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease or a history of stroke, although it can help improve daytime drowsiness, anxiety and depression, and overall quality of life.

Still, CPAP can’t alleviate sleep problems for all OSA patients. Fortunately for people with CPAP intolerance, the hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS) therapy holds the potential to improve sleep quality and reduce risk of related health complications. First clinically tested in 2010 and approved by FDA in 2014, the HGNS implant can halve the number of breathing interruptions in patients with moderate to severe OSA, while at the same time boosting nighttime oxygen levels, improving rest quality, and reducing daytime sleepiness.

Last but not the least, patients who fail to find comfort in both CPAP and HGNS can undergo somnoplasty or jaw bone relocation surgery. Combined with weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes, surgery can help improve OSA in cases that seem to spite other treatment methods.

Sleep apnea isn’t as benign as it’s usually believed to be: it’s one of the prime risk factors for a range of serious health conditions, and it can even shave your lifespan. On the plus side, the disorder is highly treatable granted timely diagnosis. Don’t lose your health, or your sleep, over sleep apnea: every breath you fail to take tonight can be the tipping point of a cardiac attack, and that’s a scenario you can prevent by having yourself checked for sleep apnea today.

Avoiding Indoor Allergy Triggers In Your Home

Allergens are all around you! You might think that this is not such a big deal, and, for some people, it really isn’t, but for people who are allergic to various substances in their surroundings this might cause problems. The truth is, you probably can’t completely eliminate allergens from your house. However, you can apply some measures to reduce them, and, thus, ease your lives during the season of allergies. In order to safeguard your home against allergy triggers, you need to know where to find them, and the best ways to mitigate their effects.

Bedroom

When it comes to your bedroom, you should be aware of the fact that even if you dust on a daily basis, it’s still full of allergens! Dust and mites hide in your cushions, bedsheets, covering, and every other inch of your bed. Now that you know where to find them, this is how you can get rid of them: you should wash your pillows at 60 degrees, and all of your sheets at even higher temperatures; the linen that can’t be washed at such a high degree can be put in a freezer and then washed at a lower temperature.  Also, keep your pets away from your bedroom and try to keep your sheets in plastic bags.

Living room

Lounge room is the room where you probably spend the most time, and that’s why it’s important to keep it clean and allergens-free! During allergy season your living room might be full of dust, pollen and other airborne allergy triggers.  You can avoid this by regularly washing your carpets, or removing them completely, and by furnishing your living room with leather, wooden or metal furniture. You should vacuum several times a week, and if you own a hardwood floor – make it your habit to mop afterwards.

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Bathroom

Your bathroom is like a haven for allergens such as mould and fungi, especially if you don’t remove puddles after you take a shower. However, this is of utmost importance if you want to prevent fungi from spreading. Make sure you carefully mop every corner of your bathroom, repair all leaks, and definitely avoid putting rugs in your bathroom! Instead, you should use mats that you can wash at least once a week. You can use your own homemade bleach solution to disinfect your bathroom.

Cuisine

Clean kitchen is a must since this is the place where you prepare your food. However, despite cleaning your kitchen regularly, there can still be some allergens left that can trigger an allergic reaction. Mildew, food crumbs, grease, smoke after cooking – these are all potential allergens that can cause severe problems for people who are prone to allergies or have asthma. It is also important to clean the space between your refrigerator and walls, to wash your dishes as soon as possible and to purify the air by air-conditioning. The best way to keep all the surfaces in your kitchen, and the rest of your house, spotless is by using Koenig. Koenig is a household cleaner that can be applied to any surface in your home – windows, floors, appliances, and all of the other surfaces alike. It is extremely efficient because not only does it provide a deep clean, but it also covers the surface with a protective layer.

Other rooms

All animal-lovers should know that pets can trigger allergic reactions since they shed dander – a mixture of dead skin and hair (or feathers). Individuals with severe allergies should avoid having pets. However, if this is not an option, you can reduce pet allergens by keeping them off of your furniture or carpets.

Allergies can be quite a nuisance, and aggravate your everyday lives to a great extent. Make sure to allergy-proof every room in your house so as to minimise the possibility of allergic reactions.

Respiratory system- Holistic and Medical Approach

Today there are many healing techniques available for various illnesses. Some people used traditional methods to treat problems which took many years whereas many people are now moving to recently invented alternative methods to treat many diseases.

If cold virus attacks the normal function of your body, it might lead to complicated breathing diseases that might halt your daily activities. For example, breathing allergy which occurs when you get irritation while going close to things containing allergens. You need to determine to things that you are allergic to. Basically people suffering from respiratory allergies are quite allergic to do, cat hair; pollen grains etc., people suffering from respiratory allergies must take extra precautions as allergy can attack anytime time upon getting exposed to allergens.

Asthma is a type of respiratory diseases and over exertion and stress can trigger asthma. In other cases asthma is also linked to allergies and get aggravated because of allergens. Asthma leads to breathlessness, persistent sneezing and coughing. Another respiratory disease is Bronchitis, which is affecting many people and it affects people who smoke or live near areas where there is a lot of pollution. It is a disorder that can disturb your day to day life.

As mentioned above respiratory disease can cause discomfort for your body. That’s why it needs to be treated and also you should know how to deal with the disease to live a normal life. There are many treatment approaches available to treat respiratory illness. Some people prefer conventional methods that are proven whereas some people opt for holistic therapies too.

Conventional medicine works on diagnosing the respiratory disease based on your symptoms which takes place. It relieves the symptoms and finds the cause of your illness and then treats it. Another treatment called holistic therapy differs completely form medical approach. Many people have experienced that holistic therapy works great in treating different types of respiratory disorders. Rather than targeting just the signs and symptoms of a patient, holistic treatments work towards improvement of whole body of a patient.

Some people also approach homeopathy to treat respiratory problems like respiratory infections. They claim that homeopathy brought a remarkable improvement in their lives. Homeopathy targets the root cause of the problem and helps resolving the problem. The treatment is very gentle and fast that you can get hopes of getting rid of the problem easily.

If your immunity is strong there are less chances of having respiratory problems. Diseases or disorders related to respiratory system are complicated and needs timely treatment to avoid further complications. Respiratory system is very important as it helps in normal breathing any disturbance related to breathing can be severe. The system is related to tissues, organs and lungs so every organ included in our respiratory system is important and needs normal functioning to keep our body strong and fight virus attack.

If you notice any symptoms related to breathing or problem in respiratory system, speak to your doctor as early detection can help you cure the problem.

Learning Uses of Our Respiratory System

Well, it is natural that well take our respiratory system for granted. We know the fact that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The main role of respiratory therapist is to make people aware of the uses and importance of respiratory system. It is important for respiratory therapist to help people get information about respiratory system so that they take good care of their respiratory system.

Inhalation

The reason for inhalation is to fill our lungs with air. This helps in removing the irritants or dirt that can affect the nasal passage. The air inhaled also helps us in distributing blood throughout our body. This is the process where oxygen is supplied to different body parts particularly to our heart.

Exhalation

When we breathe out or exhale means that the oxygen is already used by us. This has now become carbon dioxide that our body doesn’t need. The process of inhalation and exhalation go hand in hand and that is the main use of respiratory system. The respiratory therapist can explain you that this process may seem to be simple, but when any blockage appears that disturbs these two processes, it means the person is in trouble.

Vocalization

Vocalization means the ability of a person to make sound or speak.  The vibration takes place when air passes through pharynx and larynx. This helps us to be heard and speak. This ability is important as if it doesn’t work we cannot make any sound or cannot speak.

There are many factors that can disturb our respiratory system like allergens, common cold and environmental factors. We also create threat to our respiratory system on our own by smog or smoking. Smog though can be because of environmental factors as well at times. Some medical conditions also lead to distress in respiratory system like heart failure, asthma, pulmonary embolism, chronic bronchitis etc.,

Obstructed airway can also affect our respiratory system. There can be different reasons causing airway obstructions like through foreign objects like fluids like blood or vomit or food items. The obstructions should be removed to make airway normal.

Respiratory distress can be detected by assessing the symptoms and signs like difficulty in process of breathing can be easily detected by watching the rise and fall in patient’s chest and overall appearance of the patient turns blue. Other means for checking are through stethoscope and saturation readings of oxygen.

Our respiratory system is very important as process of normal breathing should go on for a normal life and any distress regarding respiratory system can lead to problems that can be fatal so if you feel anyone you know is not able to breathe properly, then ask for medical help immediately. There are many solutions to help the patient breathe normally once he/she gets medical help

Any problem related to respiratory system should be treated immediately as it is crucial and can be life threatening. Within no time the body can stop responding if the respiratory system doesn’t function properly so you can save someone’s life by giving them medical aid on time.

How Air Pollutants adversely Affect Respiratory System?

Physical and Mental health of a person depend on effectiveness of cells in their body that derive high level of energy from various chemical reactions that happens in presence of oxygen. The consequential waste product is the carbon dioxide. Respiratory system offers the routes through which oxygen gets in your body and excretes carbon dioxide. Blood is a transport system for exchanging these gases between your lungs and body cells.

Effect of Air Pollution on Respiratory System

Poor quality of air widely affects health of a person.  The utmost effect generally comes to cardiovascular system and even to your respiratory system. Though, reaction of individual for air pollutants mainly depends on the kind of the pollutants where the person is mainly exposed to, degree of exposure to these pollutants, status of health of an individual and their genetics.

A person who does most outdoor activities will likely get exposed toward air pollutants. The cloudy and hot days will also increase exposure to air pollution. It may also lead to various health problems like biological and physiological changes that may lead to difficulty while breathing, wheezing, coughing and even aggravation to recent respiratory and cardiac conditions.

How does Air pollution affect respiratory system?

The highly affected health because of prolong exposure to air pollution is respiratory system. However, Lungs and various respiratory systems also directly deal to breathing of air. The vital particle that is available in air is oxygen. Though, apart from oxygen, air even contains other harmful pollutants. The human respiratory system is quite sensitive to pollutants as it is created with exposed membrane and Lungs are also structured to hold huge capacity of the air to deliver oxygen through proper circulation of blood.

Harmful Pollutants in air:

There are various harmful pollutants in air like ozone, metals and other free radicals that may directly injure tissue cells present in your lungs. Ozone is also quite harmful to alveoli where carbon dioxide and oxygen is exchanged. The airway tissues having rich bioactivation enzymes also convert organic pollutants to reactive metabolites. This might also lead to lung injury.

Lung tissue comprises of plentiful supply of blood that bring the toxic substances for metabolites of the remote organs. To respond back to these toxic contaminants, cells of lung release different chemical mediators that can possibly affect the functioning of another organ together with cardiovascular system. Moreover, it can potentially also lead to lung inflammation and can also spoil functioning of lung.

Breathing problem and respiratory system

Breathing belongs to instinctive reflexes of your body. It is certainly an achievement for take every single breath for people who have respiratory problems. Respiratory system not just supply oxygen to body cell but it also removes waste in your body, offers requisite air for the speech, and also filter various contagious agents.

Every person is susceptible to breathing problems particularly when you travel from one place to other. There are different pollutants in air like such as carbon monoxide which is released by vehicles. Every time when people inhale, there are many air particles that disfigure your lungs. This means that you inhale more toxins rather than people who actually smoke.