How To Support Family Members With Sleep Apnea

How To Support Family Members With Sleep ApneaIf you have a family member who suffers from sleep apnea, you know how difficult it can be. Luckily, there are ways that you can support your loved one to make life a bit easier for them.

And I’m here to help you to know what you can do to support them.

As you might know, I am a bestselling wellness author with about 2 million books sold globally. Plus I founded a groundbreaking video course called The Anxiety Cure.

I love sharing insights and strategies to help people to live their healthiest and happiest lives. So I put together this article with actionable tips for managing sleep apnea. And that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article. But first, let’s understand sleep apnea and its symptoms.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where people stop breathing during sleep. These disruptions lead to reduced oxygen delivery throughout the night, which can ultimately cause high blood pressure and diabetes.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea symptoms can include snoring, interrupted sleep, fatigue during the day, memory loss, high blood pressure, and heart problems as a result of high blood pressure. In some cases, people with sleep apnea have no symptoms at all.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are two main types of sleep apnea – obstructive and central.

1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

OSA is caused by an obstructed airway. This occurs when the walls of the throat become too relaxed and collapse. This prevents air from entering the lungs, depriving the body of oxygen. 

As a result, people with OSA wake up with shortness of breath but recover quickly. Some people might make snoring or gasping noises while sleeping.

Common causes of OSA include obesity, a naturally narrow throat, smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, medical conditions affecting the airways, and thyroid disorders.

2. Central sleep apnea (CSA)

Unlike OSA, central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by a problem with the brain centers that control breathing at night. People who have this type of sleep apnea make no noise during episodes of disrupted breathing, and they may not be aware that this is happening to them.

Sometimes, CSA occurs without an obvious cause. This is called idiopathic CSA. Other causes of CSA include heart conditions, kidney problems, and some medications.

Now that we understand sleep apnea better, let’s talk about how you can support a family member on their road to recovery.

Four Tips For Supporting A Family Member With Sleep Apnea

1. Find Medical and Communal Support

The first step towards recovery from sleep apnea is to seek medical help. Your loved one might be reluctant to see a doctor but make sure they do even if you have to accompany them.

You must also learn more about the condition to help your loved one the right way. To help with this process, you should find support for yourself.

It’s a good idea to join a support group for family members of sleep apnea patients.

2. Help Them Bring About Positive Changes in Their Lifestyle

Besides medication and doctor’s help, a healthy lifestyle can help patients deal with sleep apnea.

For example, carrying too much weight is one of the biggest obstacles for people with sleep apnea. Studies suggest that half the people with moderate or severe sleep apnea are overweight or obese. Similarly, smokers are three times more likely to develop sleep apnea than non-smokers. 

So make sure to help your loved ones eat healthy, work out, lose weight, and quit smoking and alcohol.

3. Help Them Get Comfortable With Mechanical Therapy

Although lifestyle changes can improve sleep apnea symptoms, mechanical therapy is often needed. It involves using a device to help people breathe during the night as they sleep.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are the most common initial treatment devices physicians recommend. A typical device requires the person to wear a mask connected to a machine that blows air into their nose and mouth. 

The air pressure is set to keep the throat open, allowing better airflow and reducing the number of sleep apnea episodes per night.

There are different types of CPAP machines and a doctor will recommend one depending on a patient’s symptoms and needs. If you’re looking for a suitable device for your home and lifestyle CPAP Direct is a good place to start.

4. Offer Emotional Support

Emotional support does wonders when fighting any medical condition or illness. Here are the things you can do to help a family member sleep better and deal with sleep apnea.

  • Keenly listen to their feelings and what they are going through. This may be especially helpful during times of stress due to symptoms of sleep apnea, such as fatigue or irritability.
  • Try to understand and respect their need for extra rest and sleep time, which is especially important for people with long-standing sleep apnea.
  • Keep conversations about the condition positive and encouraging. Do not say anything negative when your loved one talks about lack of sleep because this can lead to guilt or feelings of inadequacy.
  • Be patient and supportive when they try to make a lifestyle change to improve their situation. Help them gradually overcome the challenges of alcohol, smoking, and other habits that can worsen sleep apnea. But don’t try to rush them through the recovery process.

Remember, no matter how severe someone’s sleep apnea might be, supportive friends and family can help patients recover faster and more easily. While it might be stressful to watch a loved one fight with the condition, keep in mind that you have the power to make their fight a bit easier for them.

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