Home > Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia & Brain Health > Residential Assisted Living Communities Keep An Eye Out For Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients

Residential Assisted Living Communities Keep An Eye Out For Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common category of sleep-disordered breathing. The muscle tone of the body ordinarily relaxes during sleep, and at the level of the throat, the human airway is composed of collapsible walls of soft tissue, which can obstruct breathing during sleep. Chronic severe obstructive sleep apnea requires treatment to prevent low blood oxygen, sleep deprivation, and other complications. The most serious complications are severe forms of congestive heart failure. The risk of OSA rises with increasing body weight, active smoking and age. Assisted living facilities are aware of the conditions of OSA and other breathing disorders occurring amongst seniors. Assisted Living Services make sure to provide the necessary medical care seniors need to live their remaining years in comfort.

In addition, patients with diabetes or “borderline” diabetes have up to three times the risk of having OSA. Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias. Sleep apnea sufferers also have a 30% higher risk of heart attack or premature death than those unaffected. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway because of obesity and other structural features that give rise to a narrowed airway, are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The elderly are more likely to have OSA than young people.

Common symptoms include loud snoring, restless sleep, and sleepiness during the daytime. Other indicators include obesity, large neck circumference, enlarged tonsils and large tongue volume, morning headaches, irritability, mood-swings, depression, learning and/or memory difficulties, and sexual dysfunction. Even the loudest snoring does not necessarily mean that an individual has sleep apnea syndrome. The sign that is most suggestive of sleep apnea occurs when snoring stops. Assisted living medical professionals monitor their seniors for signs of OSA and accordingly adjust their sleeping habits so they can get the sound sleep they need. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is when both snoring and breathing stop while the person’s chest and body try to breathe. When breathing starts again, there is typically a deep gasp and then the resumption of snoring.

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Some treatments involve lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol or muscle relaxants, losing weight, and quitting smoking. Many people find relief by sleeping at a 30-degree elevation of the upper body as in a recliner chair, as it helps prevent the gravitational collapse of the airway. Sleeping on your side, as opposed to sleeping on the back, is also recommended for reducing obstructive sleep apnea. Some people benefit from Oral Appliance Therapy. Dentists specializing in sleep disorders can prescribe (OAT). The oral appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward, opening up the airway. OAT is usually successful in patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea.

For more severe cases, breathing machines, such as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure may help. The CPAP “splints” the patient’s airway open during sleep by means of a flow of pressurized air into the throat. The patient typically wears a plastic facial mask connected by a flexible tube to a small bedside machine. The machine generates the required air pressure to keep the patient’s airway open during sleep. Since OSA is a common condition amongst seniors most assisted living facilities have machines to help them breathe better. There are also surgical procedures to remove and tighten tissue and widen the airway. Many seniors are not able to handle surgery and find that Assisted Living Facilities provide them with all the recreational and medical amenities they require.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Los Angeles and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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