Thoughts on Better Aging

Hate Your CPAP? Try Our Approach to Treating Sleep Apnea

May 22nd, 2015

Hormone therapy can support efforts to manage sleep apnea through lifestyle changes.

Aging brings many unwelcome changes, and for some men this may include sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by the periodic cessation of breath during sleep. These interruptions in breathing or “apneas” can last for seconds or even minutes at a time. Some individuals may also breathe too shallowly or infrequently during sleep.

The end result of these breathing issues is oxygen deprivation and sleep deprivation. The lack of oxygen places stress on the body, including the heart, and the lack of healthy restful sleep can result in fatigue, depression, irritability, low sex drive and problems with concentration.

Managing Sleep Apnea

The easiest way to manage moderate to severe sleep apnea is with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device or an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) device. These devices help to keep airways open during sleep to promote normal breathing. Unfortunately, many men find CPAP and APAP devices extremely uncomfortable. The most common complaints include a sense of being trapped and skin irritation around the mask. Some men even get nosebleeds, sore lips, and painful gums from using these devices.

The good news is there is another non-surgical alternative to consider for managing sleep apnea: reducing or eliminating the risk factors that may have caused or contributed to the condition. These risk factors may include:

  • being overweight
  • feeling stressed
  • smoking
  • drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol
  • taking certain medications
  • not eating right
  • not getting any exercise

Control Sleep Apnea Risk Factors with Help from Renew Man™

At Renew Man™, we provide the support you need to tackle some of the most important risk factors for sleep apnea, namely stress and weight gain.

As a first step, we recommend getting comprehensive lab tests to measure your levels of vital hormones such as cortisol (the stress hormone) and testosterone. This will let our doctors know whether you may need hormone therapy to set the groundwork for controlling your sleep apnea risk factors.

For example, if you have low testosterone, it will be very difficult for you to find the energy needed to get physically active and lose weight. Low testosterone can also interfere with maintain healthy muscle tone throughout the body, including in the throat. But if we boost testosterone to a healthy level, you will see improved results from your workouts for better muscle tone and faster weight loss. If you have high cortisol levels, this shows your body is in constant stress mode. We may need to control cortisol to help limit the impact of stress as a sleep apnea risk factor.

Once we have a plan for balancing your hormones, the next step is to get a healthy living consultation to evaluate your current diet and activity level. Our certified nutritionists and certified personal trainers will work with you via phone or Skype to develop a diet plan and workout routine that will guide you successfully and safely to your weight loss goal, and most likely improve your sleep apnea symptoms in the process.

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