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    Better sleep

    Think you have sleep apnea? What to do about it

     

    If your partner complains about your snoring, if you feel fatigued or often wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat, you could have sleep apnea.

     

    Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that can lead to the repeated stopping and starting of breathing. Such a condition can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.

     

    Only your doctor can diagnose sleep apnea, but a simple quiz from Philips’ Save Our Sleep effort can help you determine your potential risk and offer possible risk factors, such as weight and age, to discuss with your doctor.

     

    If your quiz score indicates that you have a risk of sleep apnea, that you snore or experience fatigue or that you experience frequent morning dry mouth and/or sore throats, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may need to undergo a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea and determine the severity.

     

    If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is the most popular and reliable way to treat sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic. A CPAP machine incorporates one of several different mask options to prevent apnea and snoring by keeping airways open during sleep.

     

    However, patients also can incorporate certain self-care techniques to treat sleep apnea, especially milder cases, the Mayo Clinic noted. So don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends you incorporate one or more of these into your lifestyle while you’re being evaluated for or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea:

     

    Lose weight. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a little weight can help alleviate constriction of the airways .

     

    Avoid alcohol, tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Alcohol and/or certain medicines can worsen obstructive sleep apnea and sleepiness.

     

    Sleep on your side or abdomen. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. To prevent sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball into the back of your pajama top.

     

    Keep your nasal passages open while you sleep. If you have congestion, ask your doctor about saline nasal sprays, decongestants and other medications to help keep your nasal passages open.

     

    Also, don’t forget about positional sleep apnea. Educate yourself.  Ask your doctor if your sleep study showed positional OSA as a diagnosis. Do you snore more on your back than you do on your side? Does your sleep position have anything to do with sleep apnea?

    Think you might have sleep apnea?

    Disclaimer

     

    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor and is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Philips disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.