I recently wrote an article about the importance of sleep and mentioned a serious condition that can mess with your ability to log some zzzz's...sleep apnea. It is a condition in which you stop breathing periodically throughout the night because your throat closes. It's considered serious because it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, medical and surgical complications, liver problems, and angry sleeping partners.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea? The only way to tell is to see your doctor. They will either order a laboratory sleep test or a simpler one that you can do at home. Signs you may have a problem include loud snoring, fatigue, insomnia, headache, sore throat, and dry mouth upon waking. Risk factors include being overweight, having a thick neck, a family history, being male, getting older, of African American descent, smoking, and alcohol/sedative use.
The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or treat this disorder. They include:
These simple steps can help you to breathe easier and have a more restful night of sleep.
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