No matter how old you are, many people dread the thought of wrinkles, and aging early. Everybody wants to enjoy having radiant skin, strong joints, and all the benefits of youth. However, that may not always be the case. As time progresses, you are bound to appear older.
Although aging is an inevitable part of everyone’s life, numerous factors contribute to early aging. Examples include smoking, stress, inactivity, an unhealthy diet, and drinking alcohol excessively. Extraordinarily little is known about one of the primary reasons for premature aging, sleep apnea. According to recent research by Harvard University, sleep apnea is among the leading causes of early aging.
What is Sleep Apnea?
In Greek, the name “apnea” means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which your breathing pattern changes, or stops completely, then resumes, during sleep. The breathing stops once, or numerous times an hour, during the sleep cycle. The oxygen deprivation experienced, can cause severe health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, strokes, and cardiac arrest.
The condition is common among adults aged 50 and older, who have a family history of sleep apnea. Other potential risk factors include obesity, small airway paths, a low hanging soft palate, large tonsils, and a large neck size.
It is generally advisable to visit the doctor for a check-up if you experience consistent sleep apnea, are constantly fighting fatigue in the daytime, and are having mood swings, morning headaches, and a dry throat. These are the subtle symptoms of this serious sleep disorder. Your brain, lungs, circulation, and bodily organs are not getting adequate oxygen when you are asleep.
There are three distinct types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea -This is the most common type, and it affects close to 30 million adults in America alone. Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles, and tongue, relax while you sleep, causing the airway to block.
- Central Sleep Apnea – With this type of sleep apnea, the brain becomes dormant for a while. What does that mean?
- The brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This occurs because you may have an unstable respiratory control system.
- Complex Sleep Apnea – Although it is rare, complex sleep apnea occurs when you experience both obstructive and central sleep apnea, concurrently.
How Sleep Apnea Contributes to Premature Aging
You need to understand how sleep apnea accelerates, to find solutions that slow down the aging process. Typically, when you suffer from sleep apnea, you barely get a good night’s rest. The restorative processes that sleep affords the brain, heart, organs, circulatory system, and immune system, cannot happen. Muscles cannot relax, inflammations cannot be reduced, and healing cannot take place.
Without Adequate Sleep and Proper Oxygenation, Aging Accelerates
Years of intense, and thorough, research results have determined that people will snore, or gasp, and frequently, partially awaken, feeling tired, despite getting eight or more hours of sleep. The stress and inactivity, resulting from undiagnosed sleep apnea, and constant fatigue, precipitate the onset of early aging. Ongoing, and undiagnosed, this dangerous sleep disorder severely impacts your entire body, and mind, due to exceptionally low blood oxygen levels. Deprived of life affirming oxygen, brain waves slow, and heart rate accelerates, exhausting and disrupting these essential organ functions. Your skin cells do not rest and regenerate, and you aging process accelerates.
If you do not seek early treatment for your sleep apnea, it will not go away. Death, as well as aging becomes a serious factor for you. In short, Harvard University researcher’s data and analytics concluded that patients with any form of sleep apnea, exhibit a biological age, which greatly exceeds the actual, chronological age. The study offers proof that most sleep apnea patients have reduced body organ functionality, and memory depletion, which match similar functionality in an older person.
Get Diagnosed, Slow the Aging Process, and Restore Your Health
The future is not all doom and gloom. Early detection, and treatment will improve your health, and the wellbeing of others who have suffered from years of sleep apnea afflictions.
To get the proper treatment, you need to identify your specific symptoms. Here is a list of subtle, but prevalent, behaviours associated with this sleep disorder. Seek the assistance of a medical professional and begin to improve your life.
- Tiredness and fatigue after a full night’s sleep
- Loud and uncontrollable snoring
- Loss of breath and gasping for air while sleeping
- Having a dry mouth after you wake up
- Morning headaches
- High irritability levels
- Loss of focus/ you can barely stay attentive.
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
1.Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is one of the most common therapies for sleep apnea. The best CPAP machine provides adequate oxygen to your body through a mask. Patients attach the device to the face mask, and wear it for hours, as they sleep. The CPAP machine increases air pressure, opening your air pathways continuously, not allowing an obstruction when you breathe. The CPAP machine’s air pressure is higher than the surrounding air. That is why doctors recommend it.
For people who feel that the CPAP machine is uncomfortable, using oral appliances can also help you sleep through the night. These devices keep the throat open during sleep, allowing you to inhale and exhale comfortably. You can consult a dentist who will recommend the best options for you. Remember that you will need to do consistent follow-ups, to ensure the apparatus is still working.
Surgery is also an option if you are dealing with severe sleep apnea. Doctors recommend various surgical procedures such as:
- Tissue removal
- Tissue shrinkage
- Jaw repositioning
- Nerve stimulation
All these procedures can reduce the intensity of your sleep apnea and slow down the aging process.Although sleep apnea can lead to premature aging, it is comforting to know that there are effective and reliable treatment alternatives. Remember to seek the opinion of a qualified doctor, and perhaps a sleep disorder specialist, before you settle on any treatment.