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Life with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can deteriorate an individual's quality of life by causing daytime sleepiness and contributing to depression, poor job performance, increased risk of accidents and increased chances of additional health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Snoring sounds can also affect family and loved ones of an individual with sleep apnea by interrupting the quality sleep of those around them. 

However, sleep apnea is usually manageable through one or more treatment options, including breathing devices, lifestyle changes or surgery. Treatment of sleep apnea can greatly increase happiness, restfulness and health of an individual with sleep apnea and those around them.

A person with sleep apnea may want to avoid gaining weight as weight gain can worsen the condition, while losing weight may improve sleep apnea. If an individual is using a CPAP to treat sleep apnea, weight loss and gain often requires adjustments to the pressure exerted by the breathing device. It may take some time to adjust to the feeling of sleeping with a CPAP, but patients usually report a feeling of relative comfort after a week. 

However, it is important to stay aware of ones comfort when using the device and to share observations with the treating doctor. Some side effects of a CPAP include dry or stuffy nose, irritated skin around the mask area, headaches, and stomach bloating. There are many CPAP machines and masks, any one of which may minimize or relieve side effects and improve comfort.

Because a person with sleep apnea is sleeping when the condition occurs, it is difficult for him or her to notice symptoms themselves. Family members or those close to a person with sleep apnea can help monitor the condition by noticing and reporting signs to the individual.

Until sleep apnea is properly treated, an individual with sleep apnea should be aware of the effect of tiredness while driving, operating machinery, and during other tasks that require alertness.

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