Does your relative snore loudly throughout the night? While this endearing trait may be good for a few laughs in the morning, heavy snoring can be an indication that your relative suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.
According to recent studies, 1 in 5 adults over the age of 60 are estimated to have the disorder, which causes disruptions in breathing that can result in reduced oxygen flow to the brain while a person is sleeping. Over time, sleep apnea can increase the likelihood of stroke, heart disease and diabetes. If you're concerned that your relative may be afflicted with sleep apnea, consider a few of these early warning signs.
1. Chronic exhaustion. Before now, you probably hadn't understood why your relative spent the afternoons yawning and could barely make it through the day without a nap. What you may have chalked up to old age and infirmity may actually be the most visible sign of sleep apnea at play.
Sleep apnea interrupts the REM sleep cycle and those with the disorder can stop breathing up to 400 times a night. Abate your worries about what could happen to your relative in the event of an emergency with a medical alarm system from Bay Alarm. A single push of a button can allow the senior in your life to reach out to emergency staff who can help in the event of a late night fall or emergency situation.
2. Obesity. While obesity itself is not an indicator of sleep apnea, if your relative is thick around the waist, they may be at greater risk of developing the disorder. The reason why? As a person adds more bulk to their frame, weight distributed to their neck and chest can compromise respiratory function, making it difficult to breath. For homeopathic relief, encourage your relative to try sleep on his or her side to help take pressure off the lungs during the night.
3. Irritability. Sleep apnea can cause elders to feel worn out, even after being in bed for several hours. If your relative begins lashing out or acting strangely, it may be a sign that they aren't getting enough shut-eye. Due to the similarity of their symptoms, sleep apnea is commonly misdiagnosed as dementia, which affects seniors and can also cause rapid changes in mood or behavior.
4. Family history. Your relative may not be the first person in your family to exhibit signs of sleep apnea. If others have been formally diagnosed, that's a sign that your relative may be prone to the disorder. Set an appointment with your relative's doctor to receive a formal diagnosis and qualify for a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device that ease your loved one into the deep sleep he or she has been missing.