Are Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy Related?

Do you struggle to keep your eyes open during the day? Try to sneak in naps here and there? Find it difficult to concentrate? While these are common symptoms everyone experiences from time to time as a result of working long hours, getting too little sleep and other lifestyle choices, they could be a sign of specific medical conditions especially when accompanied by memory problems, loss of appetite, anxiety and irritability. Could it be sleep apnea or narcolepsy? Are they related? While sleep apnea and narcolepsy both lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, cause you to nod off and are considered sleep disorders, that’s where their similarities end.

What’s Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of wakefulness and sleep. The telltale symptom of narcolepsy is uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep throughout the day. Other symptoms include the sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), intense emotions such as laughter and anger, hallucinations and temporary sleep paralysis. Scientists aren’t sure what causes narcolepsy, but are looking into the possibility of identifying multiple factors such as genes associated with the disorder as well abnormalities in various parts of the brain involved in regulating REM sleep.

What’s Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is not a neurological disorder, but rather a breathing-related sleep disorder. Those with sleep apnea stop breathing several times an hour during each night due to an obstruction of their airway. This obstruction is typically caused when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to narrow or close making it difficult to breathe. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and stirs you awake to breathe again. This interrupted breathing prevents you from getting a good night of sleep and is what leads to feeling so sleepy throughout the day.

Can Someone Have Both Narcolepsy and Sleep Apnea?

Yes. According to a study published by Sleep Medicine, an individual can have both narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. Interestingly, the study reveals, “sleep apnea occurs frequently in narcolepsy and may delay the diagnosis of narcolepsy by several years and interfere with its proper management.” Furthermore, “Treatment with CPAP does not usually improve excessive daytime sleepiness in narcoleptics with sleep apnea.”

Can Allergies Affect Sleep Apnea? Read to Learn More

Once springtime rolls around, the sounds of birds chirping and kids playing outdoors are joined by the not so pleasant sounds of sniffling and sneezing of allergy sufferers. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies (also known as allergic rhinitis), you know all too well how difficult it is to get a restful night of sleep when you can’t breathe. While it’s no secret that sleep problems and seasonal allergies go hand-in-hand, many wonder if allergies can affect another type of sleep problem — sleep apnea.

What’s the Connection?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which one’s breathing becomes shallow or briefly stops multiple times a night. Apnea occurs as a result of the muscles of the throat relaxing and blocking the airway. Allergies similarly can block one’s airway by causing the upper airway to narrow while the tonsils and adenoids swell. Many experts agree that nasal congestion increases the risk of both snoring and sleep apnea among seasonal allergy patients. According to a study published by the American Review of Respiratory Disease, “in patients with allergic rhinitis, obstructive sleep apneas are longer and more frequent during a period of symptomatic nasal obstruction than when symptoms are absent.”

Is There A Solution?

Yes! Reducing nasal inflammation caused by allergies with the help of medications and natural remedies reduces symptoms of sleep apnea. This is especially important for those who already use a CPAP mask for sleep apnea and find it impossible to use their mask with a blocked nasal passage.

Rather than ditching your CPAP mask during allergy season, try switching to a different type of CPAP mask. For example, if allergies are making breathing through your nose impossible, you’re more likely to benefit from a full face mask than from a nasal pillow mask. While a nasal mask only delivers air through your nose, a full face mask covers your mouth and nose, ensuring that you still receive air whether your nose is congested or not.

If your allergies are interfering with your sleep apnea treatment, don’t put your treatment on hold. Talk with your doctor about alleviating congestion and switching to a different type of CPAP mask during allergy season. Before you know it, you’ll be able to breathe easy and rest easy, too!


Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Your Heart Health – RespShop

Why is sleep important to the heart?

While you may think that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an affliction that only affects your airway and quality of sleep, that’s not at all the case. When you sleep, your body essentially rebuilds itself, healing from the deleterious effects of the day, much like your computer may perform system updates overnight. Your heart rate and blood pressure drop, essentially letting your body’s processor sit idle.

So what happens when you interrupt that process? Just like messing with computer processes make things sluggish and prone to viral attacks, disturbing your sleep patterns can have a severe negative impact on the efficacy of your major organs—including your heart. According to research, poor sleep can cause complications like glucose imbalance, metabolic dysregulation, increased blood pressure, arrhythmia and organ inflammation, and has been linked to atrial fibrillation, stroke, myocardial infarction and death. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, so getting a good night’s sleep is vitally important.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

An estimated 22 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea and as many as 80 percent of those cases go undiagnosed. Obstructive sleep apnea specifically, is associated with obesity, which is also a major risk factor for heart disease. In OSA sufferers, the muscles that hold open the airway lose tone and essentially crush closed when muscles are relaxed and the body is prone. Every time the airway buckles, breathing stops. Determine your risk factor for OSA and consult your doctor immediately.

What happens to your heart during OSA?

Obviously, oxygen is necessary to keep us alive; it’s why breathing is an involuntary response. While you sleep, your conscious self may not be aware of breathing difficulties and they may continue unabated. People with sleep apnea may experience pauses in breathing up to 30 times per hour or more, meaning that there are moments throughout those eight hours of sleep a night where the heart is starved of oxygen, which means your blood is starved of oxygen, which means all your other organs are starved of, you guessed it, oxygen. Plus, studies have shown that people who sleep fewer than six hours a night are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

How can RespShop help? is a leading retailer of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) breathing machines, which send warm, moisturized pressurized air through a tube and into a mask situated over your nose and/or mouth, gently keeping your airway open so you can breathe and sleep easily through the night. Shop now.



Link Between Sleep Apnea & Silent Stroke – RespShop

What is silent stroke?

A silent stroke describes a stroke that occurs, but has no outwardly visible or identifiable symptoms typically associated with stroke like slurred speech, paralysis, face drooping, pain, etc. Most patients don’t even know they’ve had one, which makes them extremely dangerous if left unnoticed.

More than half of individuals who suffer a stroke also suffer from sleep apnea. Combined with the fact that silent strokes are virtually undetectable, you run the risk of severe, permanent damage if your sleep apnea goes undiagnosed or untreated. According to findings in a 2012 study by the Dresden University Stroke Center’s Department of Neurology, Germany, “patients who had severe sleep apnea were more likely to have silent strokes and the severity of sleep apnea increased the risk of being disabled at hospital discharge.”

Why is your risk of silent stroke greater with OSA?

Sleep apnea can be an after effect of stroke or could cause it, so the two are inextricably linked. People who have OSA, especially men, are three times more likely to suffer stroke if the OSA is not treated properly. This is because low oxygen levels and high blood pressure, often caused by sleep apnea, can increase the risk of a stroke. (Note: the less prevalent central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain doesn’t remind the body to breathe, has also been associated with brain stem stroke as that is where the signal to breathe originates.)

Those who previously suffered a stroke have a 60 percent increased risk for sleep apnea because stroke effects cause a strain on the cardiovascular system. This can also lead to hypertension, increasing your chance at a recurrent stroke. In the Dresden study, 91 percent of people who had suffered an ischemic stroke had sleep apnea, with over half of that percentage suffering moderate to severe apnea. Of those who had had a silent stroke, 58 percent suffered severe sleep apnea.

Additionally, studies have shown that people who sleep fewer than six hours a night are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Determine your risk factor for OSA and consult your doctor immediately.

How can RespShop help?

Sleep is extremely important for both preventing and the successful recovery after a stroke. As a leading retailer of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, other breathing treatments and therapies, is dedicated to helping sleep apnea sufferers rest deeply, breathe easier and improve your health all while you sleep! Shop now.



Featured Brand: PureSom, Chinstraps –

Keeping the mouth gently, yet securely closed during CPAP or BiPAP treatment makes the therapy much more effective and the user much more comfortable. As one of the lead manufacturers of CPAP chinstraps, PureSom knows how important an effective treatment can be.

PureSom’s chin straps keep your chin in place and holds your mouth gently closed, reducing airflow leaks. Each strap is fashioned out of Breathe-O-Prene, a neoprene fabric designed to facilitate the best fit that is both secure and comfortable. All PureSom chinstraps are hand washable and lay flat to fry.

Choose your favorite strap! PureSom’s straps come in sizes and styles perfect to fit your needs and budget. For an all-over fit without the fuss, there’s the non-adjustable contiguous strap, guaranteeing the size won’t slip during the night. Adjustable straps featuring hassle-free Velcro closures ensure a snug and customizable fit for optimum consumer comfort.

If you wake in the morning with a sore throat or dry mouth, or find yourself uncomfortable after any CPAP or BiPAP treatment, you may need a chinstrap. Shop for quality straps from PureSom.

Always consult your doctor if you have any questions.