The Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

Sleeping BabyIn addition to the effect that chronic loss of sleep has on someone’s mental, physical, and emotional health, untreated sleep apnea also raises the risk of certain cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart diseases. Read on to learn what you can do to help your loved one sleep restfully.

What To Do

Caregivers, home healthcare aides, CNAs, or other individuals providing in-home assistance should immediately bring this concern to the attention of family members and medical staff so that a doctor’s appointment can be scheduled.

There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. As the name suggests, obstructive sleep apnea is due to an obstruction in the individual’s airways, whereas central sleep apnea results from the brain not telling the body to breathe. A doctor will need to first determine the cause of sleep apnea before they can choose the best treatment and will likely ask the caregiver what symptoms they noticed to aid in this diagnosis.

Treatment Options

  • Lifestyle Choices: In some cases of sleep apnea, implementing lifestyle changes can help to resolve it. These changes include losing weight, sleeping on the side, and reducing the use of sedatives.
  • Breathing Machines: A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine are two devices that can help with breathing. These devices push air through a mask and into the user’s airways to keep them open during sleep.
  • Mouthpieces: For those with anatomical features that trigger sleep apnea, there are mouthpieces that can hold their jaw or tongue in a specific position to prevent it.

As a caregiver, it is crucial to be aware of the treatment prescribed by a doctor and ensure that the device is being used or that the lifestyle changes are being implemented. Keeping up with doctor’s appointments to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment and modify as needed is also important.

Allcare Home Health caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training includes recognizing concerning behavior related to serious health conditions. Call (919) 301-0236 today to schedule a new client in-home assessment with one of our skilled RNs.