New Study Uses Blood Tests to Screen for Sleep Apnea

Patients are commonly diagnosed with sleep apnea following when a sleep disorder specialist obtains a medical history and perform a physical exam. Affected patients commonly complain of habitual snoring and an inability to get quality sleep. They also have larger neck sizes and a smaller upper respiratory airway. Individuals suspected to have the disorder typically undergo a sleep study. However, recent research reveals that specific blood tests may hasten diagnosis and treatment.

 

Biomarker Study

 

The research involved 264 male adults from various locations. Blood samples were taken from each of the men and tested for various levels that included C-reactive protein, hemoglobin A1c and erythropoietin. Elevations in C-reactive protein, erythropoietin and hemoglobin A1c correlated with the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen caused by apnea naturally increases erythropoietin levels.

 

The findings reveal that blood testing proved superior to traditional methods used for sleep apnea screening. The biomarkers also revealed that patients suffering from the disorder may or may not have symptoms. The blood tests were more accurate than body mass index determination, as half of all people suffering from sleep apnea are not overweight. By making blood tests part of the diagnostic regimen, sleep specialists may be better able to diagnose and treat patients based on the severity of the disorder.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

 

Treatment methods are designed to ensure that the airway remains open when an affected individual sleeps. The proper mode of treatment eliminates symptoms and reduces the possibility of developing any of the medical conditions that may occur. Sleep specialists may prescribe a variety of therapies based on the severity of the disorder.

 

Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP remains one of the more effective treatment options. The therapy involves wearing a CPAP mask, which is connected to tubing and a device that continually blows air into the passages.

 

Some apnea sufferers may be advised to change their sleep position. Sleeping on one side or the other helps keep the airway open during sleep. However, the tactic is not always effective.

 

An obese patient diagnosed with sleep apnea is often told to lose weight through changes in diet combined with an increase in physical activity. However, not all patients are able to maintain the weight loss.

 

Avoiding alcohol or medications designed to induce sleep are commonly discouraged. The substances may cause an excess of muscular relaxation, which leads to the obstruction.

 

Originally posted on AlexLucio.net on September 25, 2018

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Sleep Apnea Frequently Missed in Black Americans

Statistics indicate that nearly 42 million adults living in the United States live with sleep apnea. If not diagnosed and treated, the disorder often leads to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other health issues. A study performed by researchers found that a large number of African-American adults live with sleep apnea that has not been diagnosed or treated.

 

Jackson Heart Sleep Study

 

The study involved 852 men and women of African-American descent for the project. The average age of the adults was 63. During the course of the sleep study, the researchers found 24 percent of the participants suffered from moderate to severe sleep apnea. The scientists also found that up to 15 percent of the sleep apnea sufferers were female. However, only five percent of the volunteers had been diagnosed by a health care provider. The data suggests that 95 percent of the people had the problem but were never diagnosed or treated.

 

The study revealed that the sleep apnea sufferers had chronic snoring problems. They also had an abnormally high body mass indexes and larger neck circumferences.

 

The director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research from the National Institutes of Health believes that the study’s findings were revealing. Although the data indicates that more research is necessary to further develop the programs needed to ensure that more African-Americans receive diagnosis and treatment for the disorder, this is a significant starting point. More research on the topic will make that possible in time, and the hope is that more research will allow doctors to diagnose more people who suffer from sleep apnea with more accuracy.

 

About Sleep Apnea

 

Sleep apnea is classified as either central or obstructive. Central apnea occurs secondary to abnormal breathing patterns. Obstructive apnea involves a narrowing of the airway, which closes off air intake through the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the disorder.

 

While asleep, the blockage causes an increase in carbon dioxide and a decrease of oxygen in the body. An individual may temporarily awaken to open the airway by engaging the upper respiratory muscles. They then typically take a number of deep breaths and fall back to sleep. Most do not remember the incident.

 

In either form of the disorder, affected individuals do not experience a restful sleep. They commonly feel unusually tired during the day without knowing the reason. The general fatigue can lead to an increased risk of becoming involved in an automotive accident. A loss of the ability to focus and concentrate also commonly affects work performance.

 

The Dangerous Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is annoying and can disrupt your sleep and your significant other’s as well. However, it can have even more severe consequences if you snore and suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea increases your risk of developing dangerous health conditions. However, these problems can be curbed if you seek treatment for your sleep apnea.

What Health Problems Can Arise from Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

It’s important to know what health problems can arise if you have obstructive sleep apnea. These conditions include the following:

  • High Blood Pressure: Sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure. Additionally, if your blood pressure is already on the upper side, it can get worse with obstructive sleep apnea because your body is under stress while you sleep. When your breathing is not proper, the level of oxygen in your blood decreases.
  • Heart Disease: If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you are far more likely to suffer a heart attack. Low oxygen in your blood means your heart receives less oxygen as well. You also experience additional stress during sleep because of frequent waking.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Around 80 percent of people who have obstructive sleep apnea also have type 2 diabetes. Additionally, being obese increases the risk of suffering from both conditions.
  • Weight Gain: If you have gained a considerable amount of weight, it can also raise your risk of developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea also makes it more difficult to lose weight. Being overweight or obese means you have more fat in the neck area, which can obstruct your breathing while you sleep.
  • Asthma: Individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to develop asthma, a chronic lung disease.
  • Acid Reflux: Many people who have sleep apnea claim to suffer from acid reflux as well.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you should seek treatment. Many of the other medical conditions that can develop when you have obstructive sleep apnea can be reduced or eliminated with the right treatment.

One means of treatment your doctor may prescribe is the usage of a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” It is fitted with a hose at the end of which there is a mask. You wear that mask during the night while you sleep and receive oxygen, which can help you to breathe better and can improve your condition overall.

Other forms of treatment include mouth appliances, nerve stimulators, and surgery. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine which type of treatment is most appropriate for you.

Sleep Apnea News: What’s Happening Right Now

Wondering what’s happening in the world of sleep apnea and sleep disorders? read on below to see a news roundup of the latest reports.

Profile of Mia Amdur

This profile about a girl living with sleep apnea (the daughter of American Sleep Apnea Association’s (ASAA) chief patient officer Adam Amdur) gives a good idea of what the illness is and the dangers of a severe case. Mia inherited adenoidal face syndrome, or “long face syndrome,” from both parents, and at age two once stopped breathing 27 times during one night. Her case required some plastic surgery to her face and a CPAP mask that gives her air while she sleeps, but thankfully, as a nine-year-old girl she seems to be doing fine.

NFL Star Talks About Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Three years ago, football star Ryan Jensen’s career was in jeopardy. Despite getting eight hours of sleep per night, he was always tired; he kept losing weight and was so sluggish on the field that he was cut from the Baltimore Ravens. Even his loved ones noticed a change in behavior, as he was always acting angry now. Eventually his wife discovered that he was not breathing while he slept, and a home test revealed that he had sleep apnea. After getting treatment, Jensen credits his diagnosis with saving his career.

Lawsuit Over Workplace Discrimination

Gary Elias, a former employee at the Arizona State University, has filed a case with the Arizona Board of Regents over discrimination for his sleep apnea. Originally his supervisors gave him flexible work hours and allowed him to work from home in order to accommodate his condition, but in December 2014 a new boss revoked them. As a result he says that he “experienced severe daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and significant anxiety,” performed poorly and was eventually fired. The case was filed on August 31 and will have its first pretrial conference in November.

“Zap” Could Replace CPAP as Treatment

A new treatment could help people with severe sleep apnea. Called “Inspire,” this nerve stimulator can be turned on before sleep and then prevents the tongue from blocking the air passage, allowing those with the condition to breathe normally. This would replace the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks which are worn to supply air during sleep; these masks can be difficult to clean, and are cumbersome when one travels. Inspire was approved for use in the United States in 2014, and five-year trials seems to show that users are doing well.

How to Annoy Your Bed Partner

After spending most of your life sleeping alone, making a significant life change like moving in with your romantic partner can be a challenge. Although you’re excited to embark on this new journey, you may also be a bit nervous about how you two are going to get along at bedtime. Will your partner annoy you — or will you annoy them?

Turn Up the Temperature When Your Partner Likes It Lower

You love sleeping in a warm and comfortable environment surrounded by many blankets and pillows, but you also prefer to have the room temperature set at a toasty 72 degrees fahrenheit. Although the ideal room temperature falls in a range from 60 to 67 degrees fahrenheit, you feel too cold to sleep in that environment. However, your partner may need to sleep in a cooler environment. Otherwise, they make wake up in the middle of the night sweating, feeling dizzy, overheated, and annoyed.

Talk to your partner to see if you can find some middle ground. Perhaps you can sleep with a slightly lower room temperature, less blankets and pillows or warmer clothing. As for your partner, they may be able to sleep in lighter clothing and use a cooling pillow.

You Read Late at Night

Whether you read a book using a bedside lamp, or read the day’s news on your iPad, any kind of light shining in your partner’s sleeping environment can keep them awake at night. Do your partner a favor by finding a compromise. You can use small a clip-on task light for your late-night reading habits, or you can set your phone to emit a less obnoxious orange light instead of blue light.

You Snore

Imagine you and your partner go to bed. You quickly fall asleep and start to snore, however, you can still feel your your partner tossing and turning beside you. Your partner tries their hardest to get to sleep by burying their head in a pillow or turning on white noise such as a fan or an air purifier in an effort to block out your snoring, but to no avail. Your sleeping partner wakes you up to complain about your snoring, but you ignore it and go back to sleep, and start snoring once more. The next morning, you wake up feeling exhausted, and your equally exhausted sleeping partner complains about how your snoring kept them awake the night before. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

If you’re waking up in the morning feeling exhausted and your partner complains about your snoring, that could be a sign of sleep apnea. If you’re wondering what sleep apnea is and how it can be treated, take a look at one of my previous blogs, “How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Everyone Can Be Susceptible to Sleep Apnea, Even Celebrities

Last month, details about Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher’s shocking death was finally revealed. The coroner determined that Fisher’s massive heart attack was not only caused by multiple drugs in her system, but that sleep apnea was a contributing factor to the heart attack as well.

At cited in People.com, sleep apnea is rarely a direct cause of death, but it can lead to other potentially fatal health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes and in Carrie’s case, heart attacks. In addition, patients with sleep disorders like Carrie often resort to drugs or alcohol to either assist with sleep or to stay awake during the day, says a 2009 study published online at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Although using these substances may help in the short term, using too many potentially harmful substances can actually cause long term disturbances in sleep, which in turn, can cause sleep apnea patients to go into relapse. The researchers who conducted the study mentioned above recommend routine screening for sleep problems in subjects with substance abuse because frequent relapse is common. Maybe if Carrie was screened for sleep problems, she would still be alive today.

At this point, we know that actors aren’t invincible to the dangers of sleep apnea. But what about athletes? Yes, even athletes can suffer from sleep apnea as well, just ask Shaquille O’Neal. The retired basketball star shed light on this issue by being featured in a video by Harvard Medical School to spread awareness about the issue. As of this writing, the video has over 1.7 million views on YouTube.

Initially, it was O’Neal’s girlfriend had been insisting he get tested by Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine Harvard Medical School, for sleep apnea. “Sometimes his snoring wakes him up, she says in the video. “It usually happens when he’s on his back. He gets into that deep snore, then he stops. His chest would stop moving and he was not breathing. So I would nudge him to wake him up and he would catch his breath.”

During the study, sleep specialists monitored Shaq’s brain waves by using electrodes attached to his head during an overnight recording. Dr. Czeisler then looked at every second of the study, and came to the conclusion that Shaq had moderate sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is normally treated by lifestyle adjustments, like eating healthier, losing weight, exercise and certain breathing devices. Given Shaq’s excellent health, he was recommended a CPAP mask for treatment, which increases positive air pressure in the throat so airways don’t collapse during breathing.

If celebrities like Carrie Fisher and Shaquille O’Neal aren’t invincible to this disease, then no one is! So what’s the moral of the story? If you have a history of substance abuse to treat your sleep problems or you have a bed partner that frequently complains about your snoring, then maybe it’s time you checked for sleep apnea!

Products to Help Your Sleep Apnea

Do you suffer from sleep apnea? If you have a prescription from your doctor for a device to treat your sleep apnea, you may want to consider a few of these products from 3B Medical, Inc. The company produces high quality technology that has the ability to drastically help consumers get higher quality sleep. If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep troubles, read about the iCodeConnect™, the Luna, and the Cirrus 5 on Alex Lucio’s website here.