October 30, 2013
Here’s one of many recent studies showing low lack of good quality sleep can cause memory problems, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In this Johns Hopkins study, researchers found that people who slept less of had trouble sleeping had higher levels of beta amyloid plaques in their brain. Having plaques alone doesn’t mean you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease, but what this study showed was that sleep may play an important role in how your brain rids itself of beta amyloid plaques, which are one of the hallmarks of dementia.
October 22, 2013
Guest post by Lisa Hunter
Many people, whether they are healthy eaters or not, find that during the evening they crave food to snack on, particularly salty, starchy or sweet choices. This generally happens a couple of hours before bedtime. Standard health advice is that we shouldn’t eat at this time of the evening, as our bodies don’t burn off fat and we simply store it, thus leading to weight problems. For sleep apnea sufferers, snacking before bedtime is particularly ill advised as it exacerbates this condition; however when you are not sleeping well, you crave snacks to boost energy levels in your body.
There are foods recommended for those tempted by snacking each evening, such as low glycemic choices and meals containing roughage. These will fill you up for longer and stop those nighttime cravings, leading to a better diet and healthier lifestyle.
Breaking the Pattern
People snack in the evening for different reasons. Sometimes it is because there is no structure, after a busy day, or we might snack as we’re cooking dinner, or end meals with a treat. Patterns are formed easily, such as craving cookies at nighttime, and a study in Obesity Journal shows that it is our internal clock that makes us reach for treats at around 8pm. It made sense for our ancestors who genuinely needed to store fat in order to survive, but today we do not need to replicate this pattern. Obesity is a debilitating disease and affects a significant number of people in the U.S today.
According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, our internal clock, known as the circadian system, intensifies our hunger at night and leads to obesity. Sugar tolerance is impaired in the evening and because we do not burn off energy at this time we simply store calories. Dr Shea, key author of the obesity study, explained that staying up later and storing energy leads to poor sleep, and these factors contribute to putting on weight. He recommends eating higher calorie meals earlier in the day, choosing lower calorie food for the evening meal and getting enough sleep to achieve weight loss.
Meals that fill you up for longer can break the pattern of snacking in the evening. You should also try to change your routine, to avoid munching on snacks in the kitchen or reaching for the calories during commercial breaks. Occupy yourself in other tasks instead so that you break the connection between activities and eating before you go to bed.
Foods to Fill You Up
Researchers have discovered that foods with a low glycemic content can help fill you up at mealtimes whilst keeping your weight down. The glycemic index was developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and relates to foods containing carbohydrates and how effectively they are converted into glucose within your body. If a food scores lower than 55, it is seen as low GL and is beneficial because it will allow glucose to reach your body in a steady stream, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Vegetables contain low glycemic levels and are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins. Peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans and leafy greens are all low GL and can be served in a mixed salad or stir fried, tossed in chilli, served with rice or burritos for healthy meals that will satisfy you for longer.
Potatoes score surprisingly highly on the GL index, at 93, and therefore you need to cut down your consumption of baked potatoes and fries at evening meal times as they will make you crave snacks later on.
Dairy products such as skimmed milk are good for you, as its GL is just 32, but be careful of fatty dairy produce that contains lactose and try to stick to low fat choices.
Blueberry pancakes make a nourishing, tasty snack at mealtimes and there are many other low GL recipes to follow for your healthy diet. Try tomato and red kidney bean soup, bangers and mash or carrot and walnut cake. Opt for a tuna stir fry, skinny rice pudding or Thai green papaya salad. Hot smoked salmon with mango salsa makes a delicious meal and will fill you up and help you avoid those cravings for carbs.
Organic foods are considered to be healthier for you because of the lack of chemicals and additives within them. This means that they are ‘higher in beneficial vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants’ and therefore your body is receiving more nutrients than it would with processed food, explains Licensed Prescriptions. With organic food, your body is getting the roughage it needs in a more natural way, and you have the peace of mind of knowing that your vegetables, fruit and meats are prepared and delivered within a short space of time, fresh and ready for the table. Fresh organic foods are perfect for mealtimes and will taste delicious in any recipe. They also break the connection you may have with processed, pre-packaged food that have a high GL content and lead to cravings after dinner. Low GL recipes, made with organic, natural ingredients, will give you a greater sense of satisfaction and help stop snacking.
By breaking evening habits and discovering low GL recipes for making meals that have a far greater satiety, you can eat healthier and stay fuller for longer.
October 15, 2013
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition among Americans. This is well evident as one in 15 Americans suffers from this condition these days. A new study states that women who have OSA are highly prone to high risk health conditions during pregnancy, which is fatal to their babies and the mothers. The study said that those babies that were born to women with OSA condition are more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit than those babies that are delivered by healthy mothers.
Details of the study
The study was conducted on obese women who were pregnant. The study revealed that the women with Sleep Apnea were more prone to develop preeclampsia, which is a serious condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy, where an emergency caesarean section may be required. The complications during pregnancy of obese women were also linked to high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. These two medical conditions are always understudied and under-diagnosed in women who are pregnant, according to the researchers. The study researcher and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Judette Louis, said that there is a need for better methods to test for and treat sleep apnea among women during their pregnancy.
Nature of Sleep Apnea
Usually, people who experience this condition gasp for air while sleeping. Women who are overweight face a higher risk of experiencing this condition, as fat in the throat can narrow the airway and can cause difficulty breathing at night.
Findings of the study
In this new study, researchers analyzed the condition of over 175 obese women who were pregnant and were screened for OSA in their homes by offering them a small portable device. About 15% of participants were found to have OSA. These participants were a bit heavier and had higher blood pressure levels than those who did not have OSA. Among those pregnant women who had OSA, about 65% needed a caesarean section while 33% of those without this condition needed a C-section to deliver their baby.
In addition, the study revealed that 42% of those with sleep apnea had preeclampsia when compared to 17% of those who did not have this condition. However, the premature birth rate was similar between the groups involved in the study. The percentage of newborn babies that required admission to NICU was 46% of the mothers who had OSA. This is much higher when compared to the 18% of those mothers who did not have sleep apnea. Researchers feel this might be because of the high rate of the caesarean births among the group of women who have sleep apnea. However, it is not clear on the effects of sleep apnea among women who are not obese as this study focuses on obese women.
Rania Paula, Author of this article writes for http://www.sleepwellblog.com. A weblog providing information about various sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, sleep deprivation, etc and there by helping you to have good night sleep.
October 10, 2013
In my last post, I described a Swedish study which explained how low testosterone could be caused by obstructive sleep apnea. In another Swedish study, midlife stress was shown to be associated with significantly higher levels of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These stresses included workplace problems, serious illness, divorce, and widowhood. Alzheimer’s developed in 21% of women who were followed for an average of 38 years.
We know from another study that 60% of Swedish women over aged 60 has obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is known to cause major brain damage, which can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Is it possible that underlying untreated obstructive sleep apnea could have aggravated some of these midlife stresses (and illnesses), as well to cause later development of dementia?
There are lots of studies that show a strong link between brain damage and untreated obstructive sleep apnea. However, there has yet to be a study published showing that treating obstructive sleep apnea can prevent or delay dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. That study will deserve the Nobel Prize.
October 7, 2013
Lower sex drive in men could increase the risk of a heart attack or even dying. A Swedish study found that men with low testosterone levels were found to have slightly higher risk of heart attacks. Even when given supplemental testosterone, the rate of heart attacks didn’t go down.
We already know that untreated obstructive sleep apnea can significantly lower testosterone levels, as well as to cause possible erectile dysfunction (ED). We also know that severe obstructive sleep apnea can double or triple your rate of possibly suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
Knowing what we know, isn’t it time to begin screening any man with low testosterone levels or ED for obstructive sleep apnea? You may also save his life.
September 27, 2013
Here’s a book from 1882 by George Catlin, an American painter from the civil war era who was most known for painting Native Americans. He marveled at how people who were natural nose breathers were much healthier, with more pronounced facial features. In contrast, mouth breathers were much more prone to being sick, weak, and just unattractive. Take a look at his book on Google.
September 23, 2013
Ear infections are almost a right of passage for young children these days. Ear tubes, along with tonsillectomy, are two of the most common procedures performed in the US every year. I’ve alluded to in the past that facial skeletal underdevelopment can predispose to middle ear and sinus problems. But how does vitamin D play a role in both ear infections and obstructive sleep apnea?
A recent study found that supplementing with vitamin D helped to reduce ear infections in children who were prone to recurrent infections. Another study found that adults with higher levels of obstructive sleep apnea were found to have significantly lower levels of vitamin D. While the first study didn’t explain the mechanism between higher levels of vitamin D and less frequent ear infections, it’s safe to assume that there may be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and middle ear infections. This would be consistent with what I describe in my sleep-breathing paradigm, where sleep-disturbed breathing can be directly or indirectly linked to a multitude of medical problems. There are anecdotal reports of vitamin D supplementation helping to treat obstructive sleep apnea, but I haven’t seen any randomized, prospective studies to date.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, do you know if you have low vitamin D levels?
September 19, 2013
Guest Post by Lisa Hunter
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, which causes people to stop breathing for short periods during the night and can lead to exhaustion during the day. When the muscles in the throat relax, they can block the airway, leading to this potentially serious condition. Your quality of life can be compromised by Obstructive sleep apnea, which is most common in middle-aged overweight men but can be hereditary.
Research reveals that there are ways to alleviate this problem and lifestyle changes such as losing weight are believed to help sufferers manage their sleep apnea. A Mediterranean diet and exercise is now cited as being able to effectively reduce this disorder and this is good news for sufferers everywhere.
Nutrition and Health
The University of Maryland’s Medical Center stresses how diet is important in controlling your sleep apnea. They suggest reducing foods such as bananas, which produce mucus in the diet for a period of 2 weeks or so, to see if the absence of such food makes a difference to the way you feel during the day and your symptoms at night.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising to lose weight are viewed as the most favourable ways of controlling your sleep apnea. Dealing with eating disorders is challenging for many people, however, and if you struggle to manage your diet alone, there are a wealth of eating disorder treatment facilities throughout the U.S to help you, such as the New York anorexia and bulimia help centers. These are available to local and national patients and offer you the peace of mind of knowing you are being supported through your struggle to manage your weight effectively.
There are a few simple facts to remember when dieting. Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grain food and low fat dairy products. Using olive oil in your diet is a healthier option to saturated fat, which is present in processed food, in meat and butter.
Chromium is suggested as a good supplement for building lean muscle mass and for improving blood sugar, with a doctor’s supervision.
Exercise is ideal if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. You should begin slowly, working up to a regular routine of 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day such as walking or swimming.
A Mediterranean Diet Helps, Says Research
The Europe Respiratory Journal published a study showing that sufferers of sleep apnea can reduce symptoms by eating a Mediterranean diet and exercising.
In the study, 40 obese sufferers of Obstructive sleep apnea were given different diets to follow, with 20 eating a prudent diet and 20 following a Mediterranean diet. The patients were monitored during their sleep cycles at the beginning and the end of the study, through electrical brain activity, their eye movements and snoring patterns. The research took place over a period of 6 months.
The findings showed that the 20 patients following the Mediterranean diet experienced less apneas (disturbances) during the REM stage of their sleep. They enjoyed their diet and found it easier to adhere to over a period of time and they increased their physical activity, which, in turn, decreased their body fat content. The study was the first of its kind in terms of exploring this diet’s impact on OSAS. Christopher Papandreou, author of the research, explained how the findings are interesting because REM sleep is shown in recent reports to be related to the most disturbances of OSAS.
Mediterranean food is naturally low in saturated fat because it relies on healthy oils such as olive oil, as well as combining delicious fruit and vegetable ideas.
A Mediterranean sandwich is healthy because of its red peppers, olives, zucchini and olive oil as well as provolone cheese and you can swapmayo for Greek yoghurt to make it even lighter. There are mouth-watering recipes for paninis to try that will really make a difference to how you enjoy your food.
Mediterranean shrimp and pasta is a low calorie option for a delicious meal, with added feta cheese, which is a low fat alternative to most other cheeses. If you cook whole grain pasta, this will give you the necessary fiber boost to keep you feeling fuller.
Mediterranean salmon burgers make an ideal change from higher fat counterparts. You can add feta cheese and cucumbers for a delicious feast and know that your lunch or dinner is packed with omega 3 rich food.
By choosing a Mediterranean diet to help you control the symptoms of your obstructive sleep apnea disorder, you will be eating your way to good health and lowering your body fat content the proper way. By combining this diet with regular exercise, you could effectively control your OSAS permanently and enjoy a better quality of life.
September 16, 2013
You probably wouldn’t think about skin cancer being possibly related to obstructive sleep apnea, but here’s an interesting study that found that the aggressiveness of melanoma is related to the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. What was more surprising was that 60% of these patients with melanoma had obstructive sleep apnea, with 14% having severe levels.
There have been numerous studies in recent years showing higher rates of cancer from untreated obstructive sleep apnea or even sleep deprivation. Mice subjected to low oxygen concentrations were found to enhance tumor growth.
If you look at stress physiology research, any chronic, long-term sleep problems or repeated apneas can cause low oxygen levels in general. When you’re under stress, certain organs and systems need to shut down. These are called the end-organs, which most often describe the bowels, the reproductive system, hands and feet, and your skin. These areas are not needed if you happen to be running from a lion or in a fight. With less blood flow and nervous system innervation, low oxygen levels can promote cancer, especially if you are already geneticaly susceptible. The real test will occur if you can study patients with melanoma and sleep apnea, and see if treating with CPAP helps to lower aggressiveness or recurrence rates.
How man of you with obstructive sleep apnea also have a skin cancer diagnosis?
September 12, 2013
Symptoms of major depression and obstructive sleep apnea can overlap in many patients. The question that always arises is: Which comes first? Or are they two separate conditions that just happen to co-exist a lot? This interesting study looked 31 patients who had a formal depression diagnosis but were screened out for obstructive sleep apnea. Compared to healthy controls, these patients had significantly higher rates of flow limitation, which is a milder form of partial breathing obstruction that doesn’t qualify to be classified as an apnea or hypopnea. Flow limitation describes flattening of the nasal airflow tracings, which is associated with interrupted and poor quality sleep. Overall, patients with major depression were 5.86 times more likely to have a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Interestingly, all the patients that were screened out for significant obstructive sleep apnea also had a depression diagnosis.
What this paper suggests is that milder forms of sleep-related breathing disorders may contribute to symptoms of major depression. The study authors didn’t treat these patents with flow limitations, but sleep doctors will tell you that by normalizing these flow limitations, sleep quality can be significantly improved. Clinically, I see depression symptoms improve often after using CPAP or dental appliances, even if they don’t have obstructive sleep apnea but have narrowed upper airway passageways.