According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, twenty-five to fifty percent of adults snore at night. If you’ve ever slept next to someone who snores, you know very well how annoying it can be. Snoring isn’t always simply annoying; it can affect normal sleep patterns and overall health and well-being. It’s important for family caregivers to know that snoring can also signal health issues in seniors.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common condition with 3 million new cases being reported each year. This condition causes intermittent airflow blockage during sleep. OSA is seen in all age groups, but the frequency increases with age and obesity. OSA requires a diagnosis and is treatable by a medical professional. Lab testing and images are sometimes required in order to receive a diagnosis. Chronic conditions may last for years or be lifelong.
Signs That Your Loved One May Have OSA
- Loud snoring
- Noticeable pauses in breathing during sleep
- Dry mouth, sore throat, or headache when waking
If your loved one has any of these symptoms, you should bring it to the attention of their medical team immediately so they can order a sleep evaluation.
Increasing evidence links sleep apnea to conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, heart failure, and other conditions, so it’s important to speak with your loved one’s physician regarding sleep apnea symptoms. Overnight home health care is a good idea when seniors live alone. Caregivers and home health aides can bring any symptoms to the attention of family and healthcare professionals.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Snoring
The first sign of snoring should be brought to the attention of the senior’s physician. If there are no other symptoms that might indicate a more serious health issue, here are some additional lifestyle changes that can help to reduce snoring:
- If the senior has any allergies, check the room and clear it of any allergens. Common allergens can include pets, dust, mattress, pillow, or covers.
- Sleeping Position
- Sometimes snoring can be caused by sleeping position. Check the mattress and pillows to ensure that they are providing adequate support in order to allow the senior’s airways to remain open while they sleep. Avoid sleeping on your back and try sleeping on your side instead.
- Alcohol Consumption
- Make sure that your senior loved one isn’t drinking too much at night as this can cause loud snoring. Not to mention it’s not good for their overall health.
- Lose Weight
- Excessive weight is a common side effect of snoring.
- Quit Smoking
- Smoking exacerbates snoring and contributes to numerous other health problems. If your senior smokes, encourage them to quit or at least decrease their consumption.
Occasionally, seniors may require medical treatment to improve the signs and symptoms of OSA. Physicians can guide your senior through the best way to control their risk factors and the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other oral appliances. In extreme cases, surgery is an option as well.
Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc serves the Raleigh/Durham area. Call us today to schedule a new client in-home assessment by one of our Registered Nurses.
Ref: Mayo Clinic, Web MD, AngelsOnCall.com