February is Heart Health Month, good timing of course with Valentines’ Day, but also we need a reminder to take care of our hearts, after we all might have forgotten our New Years’ Resolution.
Congestive Heart Failure(CHF) is a growing problem in the U.S. due to changing demographics. By 2030, there will be over 8 million Americans suffering from CHF. This condition may be caused by a number of other underlying problems; high blood pressure, heart valve problems, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, or any issues that increase the body’s demand for oxygen rich blood.
Untreated CHF will progress to the point of affecting the kidneys, lungs and liver. Fortunately, mild to moderate CHF can be treated and managed. The goal is to prevent progression of the disease.
One particular problem encountered by many CHF patients involves breathing difficulties when they are in a prone position. This often leads to sleep disturbances at night. When in the prone position, gravity no longer assists in the draining of fluid from the lungs. The weakened heart allows the fluid to build up, causing the problem. The simple addition of a bed wedge, such as Alex 5512, can help restore proper fluid drainage and a return to normal sleep patterns. Adding a leg wedge, Alex 5532-6, to support your knees will also put you in a simulated zero gravity position reducing the over all stress on your spine.
Sleep apnea is one of the main sleep disturbances which is associated with heart failure, and it is present in up to 70 percent of heart failure patients. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, where the muscles in the back of the throat collapse and block the airway. Central sleep apnea tends to affect those with severe cases of heart failure, particularly men. Both conditions cause a drop of oxygen in the blood level, resulting in waking up. A third type of apnea, Orthopnea, a condition where there is breathlessness while lying down, which is caused by ventricular pressure.
A CPAP machine might be prescribed by your doctor, this device forces air into the passage way assisting in your breathing while you sleep. However, this device comes with multiple tubes which can be unruly when trying to sleep with a normal pillow. Alex has 2 styles of CPAP pillows, which support the head and neck, have openings for the tubes, and promotes a good and restful sleep.
A CPAP machine might not be needed for every person. Sometimes a simple sleeping adjustment such as sleeping on your side may reduce sleep apnea. Alex’s body wedge 5516 supports side sleeping and elevates the head slightly. You can pair this wedge with an Alex Small cervical pillow 5511, this pillow supports your neck and provides additional comfort while sleeping.