Understanding what is wrong in obstructive sleep apnea
Gravity pulls things down – including the fluids in your body. But the body has its own anti-gravity system which counterbalances this very powerful universal force.
The anti-gravity system depends on the routine muscle contractions in the legs. As these muscles tighten they squeeze the veins and push the fluid up.
But when little to no movement of the legs is taking place during prolonged sitting, muscle squeezing is minimal , so fluids have a tendency to begin accumulating in the legs.
Climbing into bed finally puts a stop to the continuous downward pull of gravity as you stretch yourself out on the bed. This gives the body the opportunity to move the fluids back round towards the head.
Neck fluid brace
The leg fluid is redirected towards the neck tissue.
Moving fluids around is routine body maintenance, but it can become impaired, particularly if the heart is not pumping efficiently due to underlying heart failure or cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, as the neck cells fill up with fluid, they get significantly bigger. This swelling now makes breathing more work, because it takes more effort to push against the increased volume of tissue.
When the work load becomes overwhelming, the pharynx collapses, temporarily cutting off the oxygen supply. Of course, this translates to an emergency from the brain’s perspective and it immediately wips all the “tired” muscles back in line to resume breathing.
The event is an apneic event. The number of these breathing interruptions depends largely on the extent of fluid build-up in the neck. It largely goes unnoticed by the “victim”, but the long term health consequences of poor sleep add up over time.
Fixing the sleep apnea problem
First prize is to “fix” the underlying cardiovascular problems, which can alleviate some of the breathing issues but second prize is to keep the oxygen flowing.
Currently the way to keep oxygen flowing is to up the air supply using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). Trouble is these machines are pricey and really uncomfortable, because the machine requires you to wear a mask ALL NIGHT.
Many patients opt for the poor quality of sleep OVER no sleep !
Introducing anti-gravity stockings….
One way to decrease the fluid build up in the neck at night is to “stop” gravity.
You don’t have to stop gravity on the planet, just the effect of gravity on your body fluids. Super powers could help defy this powerful force, but failing this, strapping on a compression stocking also works.
French researchers tried it out on 12 patients at La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. Wearing the compression stockings during the day, reduced the fluid build up in the legs during the day, which meant less fluid in the neck at night and…………….. fewer apneas and hyponeas per hour of sleep.
Benefits were seen after just a week of wearing compression stockings.
Cheap sleep apnea cure
You can pick up a pair of compression stockings at a pharmacy and they won’t cost an arm and a leg.Attenuation of obstructive sleep apnea by compression stockings in subjects with venous insufficiency. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2011) 184 : 1062-1066. Stefania Redolfi, Isabelle Arnulf, Michel Pottier, Jacques Lajou, Isabelle Koskas, T. Douglas Bradleyand Thomas Similowski
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