Sleep Apnea  and Oxygen Therapy

      If you suffer, or suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, it helps to know which symptoms you may be experiencing that might lead to a correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment.  Often snoring is one indicator, but just because you snore doesn’t mean that you necessarily require treatment for a condition. 

      When found in combination with variety of other factors, however, it may be time to seek medical advice.  Simply put, someone with recurrent interruptions of breathing (respiration) during sleep that regularly stops breathing at intervals throughout the night. 

This causes a lack of oxygen to the brain and organs, and can cause other health problems down the road. The typical signs seen in a person with sleep apnea (depending on the severity) are as follows;

Typical Signs of Sleep apnea

The typical signs seen in a person with sleep apnea (depending on the severity) are as follows;

Interrupted Breathing.  This is the most obvious one, but is usually only noticed by the patient’s partner as the patient doesn’t remember or realize they’ve been waking through the night or hear the sound they make when trying to catch their breath after they’ve stopped breathing. 

Snoring.  Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got a condition; you may just be one of the lucky ones that rumble through the night.  Loud snoring in conjunction with some of these other symptoms; however is a cause for concern.

Insomnia.  This is a condition whereby the patient cannot seem to fall asleep for a good night’s rest.  This could mean regular trouble lying awake at night or intermittent sleep where you wake and drift wake and drift.  At any rate, neither gives your body the rest it needs.

Exhausted through your day.  Everyone is sure to experience a tired day every so often, and certainly if you’re up through the night working or have a new baby, you’re going to be dragging yourself around to a certain degree.  However, barring extenuating circumstances, if you find yourself exhausted day after day, it could mean that your body has had to fight for breath the night before and can’t seem to get a decent rest period.

Urinating through the night.  An adult human being should be able to make it 6 to 8 hours between trips to the bathroom, but if you find that you’re waking with the need to urinate a few times during the wee hours, it could be an indicator that sleep apnea may be the culprit. 

Tossing and Turning.  If it seems as if your body is fighting against going sleep and you toss and turn a lot, this might be a subconscious attempt to stay out of the danger zone, as somewhere deep in your mind, you recognize that when you sleep, you stop breathing.

Dry Mouth.  Nobody wakes up tasting like peppermint, but if you also have an excessively dry mouth, it might mean that you’re either snoring, or an indication of gasping throughout the evening.  If you have stopped breathing, your mouth will naturally open when you gasp to take in air again, and if this is the case repeatedly through the night, it’s likely you’ll wake up with not only a dry mouth, but possibly a sore throat and chapped lips as well.

Low Mood. Yes, yes, we all have our bad days, but if you’re experiencing a low feeling repeatedly and for seemingly no reason, a lack of enough sleep at night could be the case.  When we get our full 8 hours of sleep it’s a chance for our bodies to recuperate and heal, and for us to prepare for the days ahead.  Without this, we’ll feel not only sluggish but probably more moody then we would otherwise.

Reduced sex drive.  Although we definitely go through a cycle and have our highs and lows, men in particular with sleep apnea claim a reduced sex drive or even ability to have sex.  This is likely due to their bodies suffering from exhaustion, but could also be a psychological affect of not feeling desirable due to low mood and sometimes even depression.

Headaches or migraines.  Unfortunately, without the full picture, a sufferer of frequent headaches or migraines often goes undiagnosed since these are symptoms of a variety of other ailments as well as sleep apnea. 

Oxygen Therapy and Sleep Apnea

 If you suffer from a combination of the above conditions, it could be that you have apnea that occurs during sleep, and, when awaiting a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy to help your organs and brain get a boost while you’re sleeping. 

Some conditions that require the use of oxygen therapy do so with the use of a portable tank so that they may continue to go about their day while getting their therapy doses. 

In sleep apnea, the tank and equipment (mask and connecting tubes) will often be placed at the patient’s bedside so that they can easily access the treatment before they go to sleep.  The mask is placed over the patients face and the tank is turned on for the duration of the evening. 

Oxygen therapy is used in a variety of treatments for people in all stages of life, although you may most often associate it with the elderly or those with limited mobility. 

It can help with shortness of breath, increase mobility (because the patient is able to breathe easier even during higher levels of activity) can increase comfort during airplane travel and allow those suffering from limited oxygen intake to enjoy a social life as well.  (The light weight portable tanks that some use allows them to head to the local movie theatre, enjoy a dinner out, or even attend social settings)

Although the use of oxygen therapy will not reduce some of the concerns associated with sleep apnea, such as daytime sleepiness or mood, it will definitely help to bring depleted oxygen levels in the blood up to normal levels, which can help your body to get a boost and on the road back to health. 

If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, its best to contact your family doctor for a diagnosis. 

This article was written by Jon Reyes from Daily Health Click. He has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.


Return from Sleep Apnea to Health Aeticle click here