Health Wise: The Real Dangers of Sleep Apnea and the Use of CPAP Machines

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The ability to get a full night’s sleep is often taken for granted by those who have no trouble dozing off right as their head hits the pillow. But the fact is, there are countless people in the world today who suffer from some type of sleep disorder.

Over the years, many factors have been attributed to one’s inability to get a full night’s sleep. In recent decades, the overuse of digital devices has been partially to blame for overstimulation resulting in poor REM sleep. But, there are other, more life-threatening conditions that exist as well.

Sufferers of sleep apnea deal with a serious condition that if left untreated can be fatal. And even if sleep apnea patients do get a full night’s sleep, they often report feeling tired or lethargic during the day. 

Many sufferers of sleep apnea also rely on the use of CPAP machines, which can also pose a threat to one’s life as well. And in the following, we’ll explore the dangers of both sleep apnea and CPAP machine use. 

What is Sleep Apnea? 

If you’re notorious for being a loud snorer, and you wake up from a full night’s sleep feeling exhausted, chances are you could suffer from sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by abruptly stopping and starting breathing while asleep. And it’s thought that there isn’t enough pressure within the airways to keep the airways open during sleep. Additionally, there are 3 main types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This condition occurs when the throat muscles relax to the point of blocking the airway during sleep. And this is thought to be common for those who sleep while lying on their back. Additionally, obesity can also play a role in obstructive sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea

When your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the muscles responsible for breathing, this is known as central sleep apnea. And this can occur regardless of weight, gender, or the position that you fall asleep in.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea. And this is often looked at as the most severe of the three cases because it can potentially be fatal without intervention at some point.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

In the world of modern medicine, there have been several advances that look promising for the future of medicine when it comes to treating sleep apnea. However, before one can seek treatment, you need to know the signs and symptoms that accompany this condition.

A few symptoms of sleep apnea are as follows:

  • Stopping breathing during sleep (often reported by another person)
  • Loud snoring (to the point that it wakes you up frequently)
  • Gasping for breath during sleep
  • Morning headaches 
  • Waking with persistent dry mouth
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Difficulty staying awake 
  • Irritability 
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Trouble completing simple cognitive tasks during the day

Sleep apnea symptoms also largely affect daytime functions. As such, you may have trouble with productivity, or with completing relatively simple tasks. Additionally, you may also experience lethargy and mild narcolepsy.

Treatment with CPAP Machines

Largely considered the most effective way to treat sleep apnea aside from lifestyle changes is the use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices. These devices are worn like respirators while sleeping in order to maintain positive pressure within the airways, which is necessary for proper breathing during sleep. However, some of these machines have come under scrutiny in recent years.

Philips Respironics recently issued recalls of its CPAP devices due to the likelihood of sound abatement foam degradation. When the polyurethane-based sound abatement foam begins to break down, particles from the foam can become inhaled, swallowed, and ingested. And due to their carcinogenic nature, this has been believed to cause cancer and other illnesses for sleep apnea patients who rely on CPAP machines. 

As a result of these issues, those who have used Philips CPAP devices and have developed cancer and respiratory issues have begun filing lawsuits to receive compensation. And if you’ve recently had complications while using one of these devices, the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist you with filing a claim.  

We all know how irritating it can be to not get a full night’s sleep. As such, sleep apnea is no laughing matter due to this factor alone, along with being a life-threatening condition in the more severe cases. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, or know someone who might, medical attention should be sought out immediately. 

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