Obstructive sleep apnea is dangerous condition
I do believe I have read most of your articles, and may have missed one or two, but was wondering if you could share information on sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Would changing my diet make a difference? If you have written a previous article, all of my friends and myself would appreciate what you have to share. I wear the breathing machine at night and find it very annoying. Please help.
Obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that exists only during sleep and cannot be diagnosed while awake. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea left untreated can lead to depression, heart disease and diabetes.
Apnea is caused by accumulation of fat around the upper respiratory tract at the back of the throat. As muscle tone relaxes during sleep, the surplus fat falls back and chokes the airway, completely blocking intake of air to the lungs. The body's vital oxygen supply may be cut off for a full minute or more at a time.
Apnea, a frequent and potentially deadly disorder, affects 20 million Americans, according to American Sleep Apnea Association, mostly those overweight. Those that suffer from apnea suffer from dangerously low levels of oxygen in the bloodstream and brain while asleep.
Another interesting note is that the constant stress created by deprivation of slow wave and REM sleep leads to high blood pressure in 60 percent of apneics according to Dr. Ellen Tart-Jensen, and is so stated in her book, "Health Is Your Birthright."
Men fall into a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. Other risk factors include hypertension, excessive alcohol, over use of sedatives or tranquilizers, neck circumference, smoking, diabetes and metabolic disorders.
The role of your diet is a key factor. According to Charles Barkhead in "Diet May Contribute to Obstructive Sleep Apnea," he states that patients with severe disordered breathing consume significantly more fat, cholesterol, saturated fat and protein compared with individuals with less disturbed sleep.
So, here are foods to avoid: caffeine, spicy foods, colas, chocolate, bananas, stimulant drugs, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, additives, preservatives, canned foods, sugar and sugary foods (i.e. pastries, cookies, cakes, etc.) and processed snack foods, foods high in protein.
Foods to eat are chlorophyll rich foods (i. e. leafy green vegetables), lean proteins, gluten-free whole grains, mushrooms, fruits (mulberries are excellent), nuts and seeds, dill and basil. Plant based oils, safflower, sunflower, coconut and flaxseed oils are recommended since they provide unsaturated fats that support nutrient absorption.
And, as I always recommend, don't forget drinking plenty of water.
Thought for the week: The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.
Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.