In a recent study sleep apnea and blood pressure were studied. What the researchers found is that untreated sleep apnea or sleep apnea treated with supplemental oxygen is not nearly as good as treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine.
The CPAP machine keeps the airway open at night and allows the sleeper to maintain normal blood oxygen levels throughout the night and have normal sleep patterns. This is important because more and more research points to a lack of sleep contributing to mental and physical disorders. In order to see if it was the blood oxygen bubbles that were contributing to the high blood pressure in many studies patients were given supplemental oxygen at night or CPAP. Those with the supplemental oxygen did not receive the same benefits as those with the CPAP.
What does this mean for you? This means if you have sleep apnea you need to seek treatment. The first step should be seeing your physician and getting a consult for a sleep study. The sleep study will examine sleeping and breathing patterns throughout the night. It will be able to diagnose if you have sleep apnea. You will then have a second sleep study to see what level of air pressure you need from your CPAP. At the end of that second sleep study you will be given a consult to go to a medical provider to pick up your CPAP and associated gear. Take the time to properly fit the skier as it will save you a lot of pain and discomfort in the long run.
Once you have all this gear you will sleep with your CPAP on through the night. Your CPAP will keep your airway open while you sleep. This will keep your blood oxygen models at normal levels and will also contribute to decreased blood pressure, if what the study suggests is true. The bottom-line is that if you have sleep apnea there is only one option, treatment. There are many promising alternatives to a CPAP but none that are as reliable or effective as a CPAP today.
Don’t wait for your symptoms to get any worse or for your daytime drowsiness to affect you anymore before you seek medical attention for your sleep apnea. You can even get a battery for your CPAP which will allow you to use it wherever you go. There is no reason anymore you shouldn’t have and use your CPAP. It may just be the best thing you do for your health this year. As if you didn’t need more reason to use a CPAP, it will also silence your snoring.