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Posts Tagged ‘obstructive sleep apnea’

Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

November 5th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

A new study on sleep apnea reveals there could be some hidden dangers – particularly for women who have the condition – where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Women with sleep apnea may appear healthy, but they have subtle symptoms so their sleep problem is often misdiagnosed.

Now, new research, led by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, shows that the body’s autonomic responses, which normally control blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and other basic functions, are not as strong in people with obstructive sleep apnea, and even less so in women.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that happens when the person is asleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night. When it occurs, blood oxygen drops and eventually damages many cells of the body.

There are over 20 million adult Americans living with the condition, note the researchers, who explain that it is linked with several serious health problems and also early death.

Women are much less likely to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea than men.

Lead researcher Dr. Paul Macey says:

“We now know that sleep apnea is a precursor to bigger health issues. And for women in particular, the results could be deadly.”

Early detection and intervention needed

Dr. Macey and his colleagues describe their work in a recent online issue of PLOS ONE.

For their study, the team recruited 94 adult men and women, comprising 37 newly diagnosed, untreated obstructive sleep (OSA) patients and 57 healthy volunteers to act as controls.

The three groups had their heart rates measured as they went through three different physical challenges:

  • The Valsalva maneuver – where they had to breathe out hard while keeping the mouth closed
  • A hand-grip challenge – where they had to just squeeze hard with one hand
  • A cold pressor challenge – where the right foot is inserted into near-freezing water for a minute.

The team notes the main results:

“Heart rate responses showed lower amplitude, delayed onset and slower rate changes in OSA patients over healthy controls, and impairments may be more pronounced in females.”

Dr. Macey adds:

“This may mean that women are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease, as well as other consequences of poor adaptation to daily physical tasks. Early detection and treatment may be needed to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”

The team now intends to investigate if the usual treatments for OSA, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), help to improve the autonomic responses.

CPAP is where a machine helps the OSA patient breathe more easily while asleep.

Funds from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research helped finance the study.

In another study published recently, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, found that sleep apnea is linked to early sign of heart failure.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Improves Blood Pressure in Men

October 31st, 2012 Raquel Rothe

American Academy of Sleep Medicine Statement on the Use of Provigil

August 15th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

American Academy of Sleep Medicine Statement on the Use of Provigil

American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Thursday, July 19, 2012

CONTACT: Thomas Heffron, 630-737-9700, ext. 9327 – theffron@aasmnet.org

DARIEN, IL – July 19, 2012 – A segment on the newsmagazine show Nightline reported people taking the prescription medication Provigil as a “smart drug,” to maintain wakefulness and promote cognitive enhancement.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) emphasizes that Provigil should be used only under the supervision of a doctor for the treatment of excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea or shift work disorder.  Provigil is a schedule IV controlled substance that carries risk for abuse and dependence.

Provigil, which comprises the drug modafinil, is a stimulant that originally received FDA approval in 1998.  A variation of the medication, marketed as Nuvigil and composed of armodafinil, was approved by the FDA in 2007.

Both drugs are approved only for the treatment of three sleep disorders that compromise daytime alertness.  Provigil should not be prescribed off-label or purchased independently by consumers for cognitive or performance enhancement. There is little evidence to support the use of Provigil or any other drug to improve learning and memory, and no medication provides such benefits without side effects.

Potential side effects from taking Provigil include headache, upset stomach and dizziness.  Although much less common, more serious side effects may occur, including severe rash or allergic reaction affecting the liver or blood cells.

It is important for patients to take Provigil under the supervision of a licensed physician who knows their medical history and has record of other medications that they are taking.

According to the AASM, getting a sufficient amount of nightly sleep is the safest and healthiest way to promote optimal mental and physical performance during the day.  Although individual sleep needs vary, most adults need about seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well-rested during the day.

About Provigil and Sleep Disorders

Provigil is approved by the FDA for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness related to narcolepsy, shift work disorder and obstructive sleep apnea.  Narcolepsy is a form of hypersomnia that commonly involves the sudden onset of irresistible sleep, and shift work sleep disorder is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that occurs due to a work schedule that takes place during the normal sleep period.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves repeated breathing pauses during sleep; these disruptions impair sleep quality and promote daytime sleepiness.  The primary treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which restores normal breathing during sleep.  Provigil is not a replacement for CPAP or any other treatment prescribed for OSA.

About the AASM

The AASM is a professional membership society that is the leader in setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research (www.aasmnet.org).

NFL’s #1 Draft Pick Claims Sleep Apnea Slowed Him Down

November 13th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

NFL’s #1 Draft Pick Claims Sleep Apnea Slowed Him Down

Sleep apnea weaved its way into the national consciousness back in 2004 when legendary NFL lineman Reggie White died in his sleep at the age of 43. The NFL-apnea connection appeared yet again in a late October 2011 article in Sports Illustrated that documented the rise and dramatic fall of the Oakland Raiders’ #1 overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Many NFL fans remember JaMarcus Russell, a 6-foot, 7-inch quarterback with a rocket arm who flamed out of the league, a victim of a questionable work ethic that may have been made worse by sleep apnea.

Russell reports that the condition contributed to lethargic practices and less-than-alert film sessions. “In the NFL, my first year, I had to be there at 6:30 before practice and be on the treadmill for an hour,” said Russell in the article by L. Jon Wertheim. “Then meetings come, I sit down, eat my fruit. We watch film, and maybe I got tired. Coach Flip [quarterback coach John DeFilippo] pulled me aside and said, ‘What are you doing for night life?’ I said, ‘Coach, I’m just chilling.’ He said, ‘I need to get you checked out.’ I did the sleep test, and they said I had apnea.”

At another point in the article, Russell’s former “life coach,” ex NBA player John Lucas, said: “JaMarcus is a good kid, I’m telling you, who just needs to find his motivation. But we still talk. Have him tell you about his sleep apnea. A lot [of his issues] come from that. And no one knows it.” The article does not mention CPAP, oral appliances, compliance, or whether Russell underwent any therapy for the condition.

Almost 7 years after her husband’s death, Reggie White’s widow went on television this week to spread the word about sleep apnea. Last week, former San Diego Chargers’ offensive lineman Aaron Taylor, along with Rolf Benirschke, a kicker for the Chargers, attended yet another media event to talk about their own battles with sleep apnea.

link to the Benirschke article.


link to the Sports Illustrated article


Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#8

June 22nd, 2011 Raquel Rothe


Macroglossia refers to an abnormally large tongue that may obstruct the airway and lead to sleep apnea. In children, macroglossia may be associated with Down’s syndrome, glycogen storage disease, or congenital hypothyroidism.

5 Ways to Live With Your CPAP Machine Adjusting to CPAP can help people with sleep apnea sleep better. Here’s how to do it.

May 2nd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Focus on the health benefits of your CPAP.   Adjusting to CPAP can make your sleep — and life – better, especially if you have severe sleep apnea. Read on to get sleep specialists’ top five tips on how you can make peace with the device.


Sleep disorders: How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

March 24th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Sex and sleep-Sexsomnia

February 12th, 2011 admin

ADVANCE Perspective: SLEEP

Published June 24, 2010 12:33 PM by Vern Enge

In your sleep lab on a daily basis, you are probably most comfortable detecting obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and parasomnias like sleepwalking and sleep eating.
You are an expert at titrating CPAP equipment to make sure your patients can get a good night’s sleep.

But how comfortable are you at discussing embarrassing topics like sleep sex, a.k.a. sexsomnia? This is a sleep disorder possibly more common than one might expect. One study earlier this year found 7.6 percent of 832 respondents in one sleep clinic survey admitted they had initiated sexual activity with a partner while asleep and had no recollection of it. They discovered their involuntary actions only when told by their bed partners.

Three of four people self-reporting sleep sex are males, according to health reporter Jenifer Goodwin.

Having sex while asleep is listed as a common complaint of patients

Sleep Well-The Heart of the Matter

November 24th, 2010 Raquel Rothe

WebMD Expert Blogs
Sleep Well
with Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM
Sleep disorders include a range of problems — from insomnia to narcolepsy — and affect millions of Americans. Dr. Michael Breus shares information and advice on sleep disorder and insomnia treatments and causes.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Heart of the Sleep Matter
I know I’m not the first to tell you about the benefits of exercise. I also know I’m not the first to tell you that exercise can do a body good from both an emotional and physical standpoint.
But I might be the first to tell you that exercise, and specifically the aerobic kind that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time, can improve your sleep. If you’re in insomniac, listen up: a new study from Northwestern Medicine that will be published in the journal Sleep Medicine showed serious promise to the benefits of exercise on people diagnosed with insomnia.
Millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of chronic insomnia, including difficulty falling sleep and/or staying asleep, and impaired daytime functioning. Insomnia also tends to strike more severely during middle age and in older adults. Women have the highest prevalence of insomnia. Many of these people resort to prescription drugs and sleep aids to help achieve a better night’s sleep. But drugs are not always a solution over the long term, and there’s no substitute for exercise, which has benefits that go far beyond restful sleep.
The highlights from the study:
Twenty-three sedentary adults, primarily women, 55 and older with insomnia were divided into two groups: one that would commence an exercise program and another that would engage in less physically demanding activities. Both groups received education about good sleep hygiene, which includes sleeping in a cool, dark and quiet room, going to bed the same time every night, and not staying in bed too long if you can’t fall asleep.
The aerobic physical activity group exercised for two 20-minute sessions four times per week, or one 30-to-40-minute session four times per week, both for a total of 16 weeks. Participants worked at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate on at least two activities including walking or using a stationary bicycle or treadmill.
Participants in the non-physical activity group participated in recreational or educational activities, such as a cooking class or a museum lecture, which met for about 45 minutes three to five times per week for 16 weeks.
The results: The people in the exercise group fared far better than the non-exercise group when it came to their sleep. Exercise not only improved their sleep quality — elevating them from being a “poor sleeper” to a “good sleeper” but they also reported feeling better. Their moods improved, and had more vitality and less daytime sleepiness.
I’ve long been an advocate for getting plenty of physical activity into your life to promote restful sleep. This study may have been among the first to examine the benefits of maintaining an aerobic regimen among insomniac women, but it certainly wasn’t the first to discover the profound role exercise has on supporting high-quality sleep.
Not everyone experiences the same sleep benefits from exercise, but people who suffer from insomnia aren’t usually the athletes and highly active individuals. (The only instance I’ve seen is where athletes over-train and for some reason have a hard time turning their mind off at night, or they are so used to exercising that on their “off days,” their body craves that exercise to help with sleep.) To the contrary, most people who complain of sleep problems lead sedentary lives and don’t practice a regular exercise routine.
Aerobic exercise has shown to aid sleep primarily by doing two things: 1) helping you fall asleep quicker; and 2) plunging you into deep (or delta) sleep for a longer period of time, which is where you need to be to feel refreshed and restored the next day. Other studies on people who participate in aerobic activities show that they have a tendency to secrete more growth hormone at night, which aids in repairing and rejuvenating the body. And let’s not forget the stress component to exercise: getting active tends to help us lower our stress levels, which allows up to calm down enough to welcome sleep!
One current reasoning behind exercise’s effects on sleep centers of the brain is the thermogenic hypothesis, which states that exercise promotes sleep by heating the body or brain. When you work out (it has to be an aerobic workout for at least 20 to 30 minutes), your body’s core temperature rises a couple of degrees (about two degrees Farenheit) and stays that way for about four to five hours. When it cools back down, your core temperature will decrease to a point lower than had you not worked out at all. And it’s this drop in body temperature that is theorized to promote falling asleep and gaining the deep, sound sleep your body needs.
Exercise your body to rest your body. It’s as simple as that.
Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

Sleep Apnea Awareness Week October 1 – October 7, 2010

October 4th, 2010 Raquel Rothe

ASA and its affiliates will be increasing awareness about the dangers of untreated sleep apnea. The American Sleep Association (ASA) is a national organization focused on improving public awareness about sleep disorders and sleep health, promoting sleep medicine research, and providing a portal for communication between patients, physicians/healthcare professionals, corporations, and scientists. The ASA is a member-driven public service project that depends on volunteer efforts.