How to cope with sleepiness and other obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the types of sleep apnea, i.e. disorders in which cessation of breathing is stopped during sleep for at least 10 seconds or more.
This particular type of disorder is characterized by episodes of partial or complete closure of the upper respiratory tract during sleep, which leads to a respiratory arrest (apnea or hypopnea during more than 10 seconds).
Other symptoms that make people with the disorder have professional and personal relationship problems are:
- Excessive daytime drowsiness;
- Frequent waking ups during the night;
- Morning headaches;
- Inability to focus;
- Loss of productivity, and others.
The diagnosis is made based on the patient’s complaints, presence of the excessive weight (one of the major factors predisposing to the condition), a gas blood test showing the level of oxygenation of the blood, and Polysomnography.
Treatment of the condition implies the use of the devices to provide constant positive pressure in the upper airways during sleep and oral medications. If this therapy is ineffective and the condition of lungs becomes critical to the hypoventilation (insufficient (incomplete) ventilation of the lung or its lobe arises as a result of the impaired airway, such as large bronchi, due to partial obstruction), surgical treatment is prescribed.
Unfortunately, the majority of cases are not diagnosed and is left untreated. People who have OSA cannot detect when they stop breathing in their sleep so only their family members can notice it and make them go to a specialist.
OSA is commonly present along with chronically high arterial tension, atrial fibrillation and other types of arrhythmias, heart failure, and also lead to injuries or deaths as a result of traffic or other accidents caused by daytime drowsiness and respective slowed down reaction time. However, accidents can be prevented if a person suspecting OSA gets diagnosed and starts taking wakefulness-promoting nootropic drugs such as Modafinil or Armodafinil (generic version - Artvigil). As for the other risk factors, they greatly depend on body weight and lifestyle in general.
What are the chances that you have OSA?
The disorder commonly occurs in adults and is diagnosed in 2-9% of the population. However, this number isn’t precise considering that the majority of people with the symptoms do not seek medical assistance.
However, based on the collected data, OSA is 4 times more common in men than in women. It is also 7 times more likely to develop in people with obesity (BMI over 30).
What are the risks of untreated OSA?
The severe cases of the condition significantly raise the mortality rate among middle-aged men. The undiagnosed and progressing disorder can result in:
- Uncontrolled hypertension and hypertonic crisis, i.e. when the arterial tension sharply raises and cannot be lowered with the usually prescribed medicines.
- Heart failure and atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.
- OSA also increases the risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (liver damage similar to liver cirrhosis) probably due to recurring nocturnal hypoxia.
- Risk of fatal accidents at work or when driving due to drowsiness and lowered alertness from chronic poor sleep quality.
How to treat OSA?
If the condition is not severe and the disease doesn’t require the use of positive pressure device at night, the treatment implies the elimination of the risk factors:
- Losing weight, the major factor causing OSA.
- Cease alcohol consumption.
- Cease using a sedative.
- Treat of underactive thyroid, acromegaly and other chronic diseases.
It is scientifically proven that bodyweight reduction by as little as 15% can significantly improve the condition. However, it can be challenging as the condition causes chronic fatigue and drowsiness. Thus, doctors are quite willing to prescribe wakefulness-promoting medicines such as Armodafinil (generic name Artvigil) that ensure even level of vigor during the day without jitters. This can help normalizing your professional and personal life as well as take steps on your lifestyle improvement, i.e. cook healthy meals instead of fast food, start doing physical exercises at least three times a week.
In severe cases, when then blood gases test shows the high content of carbon dioxide, positive pressure devices are used. Fortunately, there is a wide range of portable and affordable devices that can be used at home. Besides, bariatric surgery can be performed especially in patients with severe obesity. However, it is still advised to lose weight to minimize the accompanying risks.
What wakefulness-promoting drug you can choose?
There are different types of wakefulness-promoting medicines that can be used in obstructive sleep apnea. In previous decades, amphetamines such as Adderall had been used. But now the first-line medications are from the class of nootropics based on Modafinil and Armodafinil. They are quite alike but have some minor differences. Check out our comparison to choose the optimal drug for OSA.
At our online drugstore, you can buy Artvigil without a prescription and at a low price because it is a generic version of Armodafinil. However, if you take any medications, consult about the possible interactions with your health care provider.