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Gout and Sleep Apnea - a silent killer.
About 5 years ago my wife noticed I stopped regularly breathing during the night whilst asleep.
I was overweight at the time and was getting tired during the day all the time.
After a severe Gout attack I went to my local Doctor and mentioned about my breathing problem, and that's when he mentioned I might have sleep apnea and this was related to Gout and heart disease and many other medical complications. Great I thought I have Gout and Sleep Apnea, what else can go wrong?
My doctor had just come from a seminar that included Gout and Sleep Apnea as a discussion topic and the studied new methods of detection and results.
A month or two later I was diagnosed with severe apnea, I then lost weight and it was downgraded to mild sleep apnea that required no breathing device at night luckily.
What I also did not know was during REM or Deep sleep if a sufferer has an apnea attack then the body sends out adrenalin to make the sufferer go into a lighter sleeping pattern which also kicks starts the breathing again.
So imagine if you have a heart condition or disease, if massive adrenalin doses pour through your system you could have a heart attack.
The Doctor had strongly suggested that being overweight or Obese as I was was making the air pipe smaller, hence less oxygen was getting into the bloodstream which can affect organs and the brain, as an oxygen starved brain certainly isn't a nice thing to get.
An oxygen starved bloodstream causes the breakdown of cells which forms Uric acid, the enemy of Gout.
Coupled in this low oxygen environment is carbon dioxide which causes the blood to increase in its acidity and also increases monosodium urate.
Monosodium Urate is a group of calcium phosphates that can build up in connective tissues such as the ears and elbows and create Tophi...and inflammation or just attack the synovial sacks and kick off a Gout attack.
Another common trait with Gout is the circumference of the neck.
I have a large neck, which in a car accident is good as it is harder to break my neck or good in certain areas of sport, but for Gout and sleep apnea it is a bad thing to have.
A thick neck generally equals a smaller air passage, the more overweight you are the smaller the circumference is of the airway.
Every extra pound or kilo of weight could be an extra millimeter less of air passage = less oxygen = more gout = more chance of other organ sickness etc.
Also having a thick tongue, or a receding chin, thick tonsils, nasal congestion, Hypothyroidism, post-polio syndrome, and Down syndrome can affect you, as well as being a smoker, drinking before bedtime and the taking of sedatives can also bring it on.
Some schools of thought seem to think that Gout is an early warning sign of Sleep Apnea, this may well be true.
Signs of Sleep Apnea:
• Sleepy during the day
• falling to sleep driving
• angry and tired for no reason or personality changes that are unexplained
• regular sudden awakenings
• waking up tired in the mornings
• sore throat in the morning
• Dry mouth
• rapid weight gain
• Memory loss or very vague
• short attention span
• slower healing process
• slower reaction time
The best methods for trying to control sleep apnea are:
• Lose weight immediately ( but be careful as the faster you lose weight the easier you can get a Gout attack )
• Sleep with the aid of a breathing apparatus designed for Apnea sufferers. It is basically a small mask that fits over the nose and a small machine by the bed, when an apnea attack occurs the machine registers no breathing and gently pumps air down the airways, my friends who have this device say that they have never had a better sleep ) This is generally for severe Sleep apnea sufferers.
• Another device is a jaw disc or a jaw plate. It fits in like a set of plate for false teeth in the top of the mouth and pushes the jaw forward, so that during sleep the air passage is open more. This is for lighter cases of apnea.
• There are talks of laser surgery in Japan on the back of the air pipe, but this is best to stay away from as it is experimental at the moment and nothing is proven with this method.
• Sleep on your side and not on your back. Try using a back support pillow wedged behind your spine so when you try and roll over it stops you. There are people out there touting the use of a squash ball supported on your back so that you feel it when you roll over. It is a good suggestion and I guess what ever works for you is a great thing indeed. So experimentation is what is required especially to help Gout and Sleep apnea.
• Lose weight ( for more information see Weight Loss for Life )
• Learn to play a Wind Instrument
• Cut out using muscle relaxing drugs
• Reduce alcohol intake
• There are newer Surgery methods being developed so it is best to seek medical advice first.
Types of Sleep Apnea
• OSA - Obstructive Sleep Apnea ( this is the most common form )
• CSA - Central Sleep Apnea ( Brain signals delay instruction to the body to breathe- this is also a central nervous disorder)
• Mixed Sleep Apnea ( mixture of the above two )
Dangers of Sleep Apnea:
• Heart Disease
• Sexual disfunction
• Premature death
• Sudden infant Death Syndrome ( Babies generally grow out of this but you should get a breathing monitor alarm system just to make sure )
• Cardiac Arrhythmia
• Stroke and Diabetes
Gout and Sleep Apnea
Remember, always seek medical advice if you suffer Gout and Sleep Apnea.
Be Aware - Be Gout Aware.
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Experiences are what we all can relate to.
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