natural apnea cures

  1. The sleep disorder that can kill you

    Snoring brings big health risks

    Snoring is bad news -- and not just because it'll lead to a tired, cranky spouse and maybe even banishment to the sofa.

    Heavy snoring can be a warning sign of serious health risks, especially a sleep disorder like sleep apnea -- a condition marked by loud snores and brief periods of total silence.

    The silence comes when you stop breathing in your sleep.

    The loss of oxygen is bad for your brain, bad for your heart and bad for your body. And that's why a major new sleep disorder study finds that heavy snoring can boost your risk of serious heart problems by 80 percent.

    Even worse, those loud snores will double your risk of a deadly stroke, according to the study of more than 25,000 sleepers.

    While the study didn't look at apnea specifically, it did find the risks are only for the heaviest snorers -- people who in many cases are apnea patients, whether they know it or not.

    And most people who have the condition don't actually know it.

    While the loud snores might wake your spouse (or even your neighbors), they won't wake you.

    Even when you stop breathing, you'll remain asleep.

    In many cases, apnea patients stop breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds at a time, with some terrifying episodes lasting a minute or longer -- and it can happen hundreds of times a night.

    Some of the sleep disorder signs to watch for include waking up tired even after a full night of sleep, and waking up with a headache and/or sore throat. Or, if you have a spouse, he or she can watch over you at night to see if you stop breathing.

    And if you suspect you may have sleep apnea or any sleep disorder, visit a doctor who can diagnose it with a night in a sleep clinic.

    Doctors will offer you everything from oxygen masks that are difficult to sleep with to a surgery that can help open your breathing passage, but the best cure isn't something your doctor can do for you.

    It's something you can do for yourself.

    Sleep apnea is almost always caused by weight gain, especially obesity -- and losing that extra weight will almost always ease or even completely cure the condition.

    And if you don't have apnea -- yet -- losing weight will help make sure you never get it.

  2. Sleep apnea linked to massive increase in cancer risk

    Dying a little bit at a time, every single night

    Nothing can ruin your day quite like a lousy night -- but if you suffer from sleep apnea, you're having lousy nights every single night.

    And you might not even realize it.

    Sleep apnea, if you're not familiar with it, is a terrifying condition in which you literally stop breathing in your sleep. These episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more -- but because they take place while you're asleep, you'll be completely unaware of them.

    All you'll know is you don't feel as rested as you used to, even when you hit the sack earlier than ever.

    But the risks of apnea go far beyond waking up grouchy and yawning all day -- it's a major risk factor for a number of diseases and even an early death, and a new study shows how it can cause your risk of death by cancer to skyrocket.

    The study of more than 1,500 participants tracked for up to 22 years as part of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort finds that people with the most severe sleep apnea -- those with 30 or more episodes every hour -- have nearly five times the risk of death by cancer than those who sleep normally.

    Less severe apnea had less severe risks -- but still risks you don't need.

    Moderate apnea, for example, doubled the risk of cancer death, while mild apnea increased the risk by 10 percent, according to the data presented at the Thoracic Society International Conference.

    If death by cancer was the only risk of sleep apnea, that would be enough of a reason to avoid it in my book -- but it's not.

    Other studies have found that people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of heart disease and brain damage, including a loss of gray matter and even dementia. These are more than just theoretical links. Both your heart and brain need oxygen -- and when you stop breathing, they don't get that oxygen.

    But as I mentioned earlier, part of the problem with sleep apnea is that most people don't even realize they have it.

    Along with finding yourself tired for no reason, warning signs including waking up with a headache, dry mouth and/or a sore throat. If you have a spouse, he or she may notice heavy snoring.

    A spouse can also keep watch over you for a night and monitor your breathing as an informal test, but the only way to really know for sure is to spend a night in a sleep clinic.

    If it turns out you do have apnea, or if you even think you have apnea, treatments range from surgical procedures to a device called the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

    It's basically an oxygen mask that you wear all night, but it's so uncomfortable that many people can't sleep with it.

    There are other alternatives such as dental devices or nasal patches, but the best way to end the apnea for good is by losing weight, because the leading cause of apnea is obesity.

    Once you shrink your waistline, you'll find yourself breathing better all the time -- not just at night.

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