COPD and Sleep Apnea – What you Should Know

For starters, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation to your lungs. At its core, COPD is a lung disease.  In the United States, COPD primarily happens due to tobacco smoking. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema also contribute to COPD.

Sleep apnea, on the other hand, occurs when you stop breathing briefly or in sessions the entire night. Each session may last a couple of seconds. You may suffer hundreds of interruptions, especially if your condition is severe.

COPD Symptoms

COPD symptoms typically do not appear until there is significant damage to the lung, particularly after continuous exposure to smoking. The symptoms of COPD include:

  • Daily cough and sputum production for at least three months
  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Your chest feels tight
  • Blocked/ sore throat in the morning due to the accumulation of mucus – note that you have to clear it.
  • A persistent cough with colored sputum
  • Your fingernails and lips tend to turn blue
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Low levels of energy
  • Unexplained weight loss as the disease advances

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

These frequently appear at night. They include;

  • Waking up to dry and sore throat
  • Losing sleep caused by gasping and choking sensations
  • Loud snoring
  • Low sex drive, forgetfulness, and unexplained mood swing
  • Lack of energy and feeling sleepy while you drive
  • Morning headaches
  • Insomnia and persistent awakenings

COPD Facts and Statistics

According to the American Lung Association (ALA);

  • More than 24 million Americans have COPD.
  • About 7% of those affected are over 45 years old
  • The risk of COPD increases with age. Among people aged 65 and above the rate is 64:1,000 while among 18 to 44-year-olds, the ratio is 28:1,000.
  • COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States
  • Southeast and Midwest states have more cases of COPD
  • According to ALA, COPD costs the United States about $ 49.9 billion every year

Groups Working to Raise Money and COPD Awareness

Several groups have undertaken the obligation to raise money and sensitive the general population on the need to get diagnosed both on the national and state level. The most notable groups include:

  • The COPD Foundation
  • The American Lung Association
  • The Illinois COPD foundation
  • The American Legacy Foundation
  • The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease
  • You Lung Health

COPD Treatment

The first step toward treating COPD is dropping bad lifestyle habits such as smoking. Smoking cessation not only reduces the risk of complication and exacerbations but also improves your ability to lead an active life.

Consult your doctor on nicotine replacement products and medications. Be sure to ask him or her how you should handle relapses. Avoid secondary smoking as well whenever possible. Some of the most common medicines for COPD include bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, oral steroids, phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, combination inhalers, and antibiotics.

Sleep Apnea

As for sleep apnea, you need to invest in a comfortable sleeping place. In other words, you must ensure that your bed is cozy enough to make your body and mind relax. Start by getting a comforter to spruce up things a little bit. Speaking of which, visit MyBedComforter to view an assortment of the best silk sleep comforters on the market and what makes them unique.

On top of that, make it a habit to sleep on your side. Here, you can buy pillows designed to help you find a comfortable sleeping position on your side.

Also, statistics indicate that more than 50% of people with sleep apnea are overweight. You should, therefore, embark on a regular sleep regimen to enable you to shed off the extra pounds.

The Bottom Line

COPD and sleep apnea are treatable. The problem, however, occurs when the two conditions overlap. You may have to adjust your living style and habits if you want to drive the intensity of your situation. Keep in mind that these two ailments are a result of poor lifestyle choices.

As a rule of thumb, you need to talk to your doctor if your condition worsens. Be sure to stick to your drug dosage as well. Don’t forget to tell your physician if you are suffering from other diseases to avoid severe medicine interaction.