Husband, wife, company brochure on snoring

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Snoring is more than an annoying habit.  It can be a symptom of sleep apnea.  This condition takes simple snoring to a new and often dangerous level.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that can bear a terrible toll on health and overall quality of life.  This degenerative condition can strike at any age.  Left untreated, sleep apnea can grow more serious over time.  If you are at risk of suffering from sleep apnea, there are some steps that you can take now to reduce your chances of developing the condition in the future.

* Stay in Shape:  Exercise is of utmost importance.  An excess of fatty tissue in the neck caused by obesity is one of the main causes of sleep apnea. This tissue can cause weight on the esophagus, obstruct the airway and, consequently, create a serious case of sleep apnea.  One way of determining whether you should be concerned about your fitness level is to measure the circumference of your neck.  If your neck measures 17 inches or more, you may be in danger of suffering sleep apnea.

* Just Say No to Booze and Pills:  Alcohol, sleeping pills and other depressants greatly increase your chances of contracting sleep apnea.  These depressants cause the muscles of the body to relax.  When the muscles in the throat relax, they can actually obstruct the airway.  If you plan on drinking, have your last alcoholic beverage no less than four hours before going to bed.  This allows your body time to process the alcohol in your system, thus reducing the chance of snoring and suffering apnea during sleep.

* No Smoking:  Smoking is another cause of sleep apnea, because smokers have an increased amount of inflammation in the throat.  Fluid retained in the upper airway can also be increased by smoking.  Both factors can add up to a serious obstruction of the airway.

* Sleep on Your Side:  Many sleep apnea sufferers only experience the problem while lying on their backs at night.  During a deep sleep, however, it’s hard to keep from rolling onto your back.  This simple remedy may fix the problem:  Place a tennis ball inside a regular sock, and pin the sock to the back of your pajama pants.  If you roll onto your back in your sleep, the tennis ball will make you uncomfortable.  You’ll unconsciously roll back onto your side and correct yourself.

These are just some of the things to do to avoid developing sleep apnea.  Many other factors can contribute to the condition. Advanced age and a narrow airway are among the unpreventable causes. It is imperative that you speak with your doctor or health care professional for a proper diagnosis if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea.

If you have any of the risk factors, yet choose to ignore them, it’s time to wake up.  Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for a serious case of sleep apnea.

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