With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us are thinking about ways we can express our love to our partners. One of the best and most timeless ways to show your love has little to do with chocolate or flowers. Rather, consider encouraging your loved one to seek care for a health concern that they have too long ignored.
If you suspect that your loved one may have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, bringing this to their attention may be the greatest gift of all. As everyone knows, the more rested you are, the better you feel; therefore people who treat their sleep apnea truly do enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, addressing and treating sleep apnea can lead to a reduction in the risk for numerous diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and even from cognitive and behavioral disorders.
Here’s what to do if you think someone you love may have sleep apnea.
Identify the symptoms of sleep apnea
Since the symptoms of sleep apnea aren’t always evident to the sufferer—they primarily manifest themselves during sleep, when only a partner might notice them—it is especially important that you bring any concerns about your partner’s behavior during sleep to their attention.
People with untreated sleep apnea can stop breathing repeatedly, even hundreds of times per night and for a minute at a time or longer. “In most cases the sleeper is unaware of these breath stoppages because they don’t trigger a full awakening,” says the American Sleep Apnea Association.
This potentially serious sleep disorder can occur because the muscles in the throat involuntarily relax or because the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
According to Mayo Clinic, the most common signs of sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which breathing ceases during sleep
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
How to diagnose sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea—obstructive, central, and mixed, with obstructive being the most common. If you think your partner has sleep apnea, pay a visit to your general practitioner, who can assess your partner’s symptoms and decide whether or not to refer them to a sleep disorder center.
Sleep apnea is ordinarily diagnosed by a sleep specialist in one of two ways—with an at-home sleep test or during an overnight sleep study at a hospital. In both cases, heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns will be monitored. During a more comprehensive nocturnal polysomnography test at a sleep center, lung and brain activity and arm and leg movements are also tested.
Sleep apnea treatment options
In milder cases of sleep apnea, a doctor may recommend treating it with lifestyle changes alone—such as quitting smoking, losing weight or treating allergies. Or the doctor may recommend that a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device be used to assist with opening up the blocked airway. Surgery may also be an option.
CPAP is the most common way to treat sleep apnea. The ventilator, which uses a hose and mask or nosepiece, applies mild air pressure continuously to keep the airway open.
Adjusting to CPAP therapy
CPAP therapy is the gold-standard treatment for many people with sleep apnea, and although it is very effective, adherence rates are poor. Approximately 50 percent of all patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed CPAP therapy will abandon treatment or fail on CPAP, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.
Many sleep apnea sufferers find it bothersome to wear a CPAP night after night, reporting trouble falling asleep and side effects such as a stuffy nose and dry mouth. This is all part of the adjustment process that the National Sleep Foundation says takes each patient anywhere from a few days to a few months to adjust to.
In addition to the side effects of CPAP therapy, the time-consuming nature of cleaning a CPAP machine may be a source of frustration, leading to non-adherence. Weekly cleanings aren’t realistic for many patients, and it’s nearly impossible to adequately reach every part of the equipment, or to remove all germs and bacteria by using soap and water or wipes. However, if not properly cleaned, the germs and bacteria trapped in CPAP machines could put your partner at increased risk for certain infections, such as pneumonia.
Give the gift of clean sleep
To give your loved one the gift of clean sleep and peace of mind, consider gifting them with a SoClean this Valentine’s. It’s the only CPAP cleaning solution that sanitizes the entire CPAP system and requires no disassembly of the CPAP equipment in order to do so.
SoClean does not use any water or harsh chemicals, and with its activated oxygen cleaning method, it can reach areas that other cleaning methods can’t. For example, a UV light CPAP cleaner is not able to sanitize any shadowed areas or inside the CPAP hose. All of these factors add up to make SoClean the most convenient and effective CPAP cleaner and sanitizer on the market.
As you help your loved one work toward better, more consistent sleep, learn more about the SoClean 2 CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizer. And if you have any questions, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 341-7014.