What is Sleep Apnea?

 


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Sleep apnea is one of the major sleep disorders. Apnea is the condition of ‘not respiring’, which may return to normal within a few seconds. Apnea can be voluntary or involuntary. The involuntary attacks of apnea are considered to be dangerous since it affects the oxygen level in the body. The episodes of apnea occurring during sleep are called sleep apnea. The sleep apnea becomes a check for normal sleeping and the person will wake up due to the decreased levels of oxygen in the body. However, the person can normally get back to sleep, as the breathing will soon become normal. However, the quality of sleep will be affected, which may lead to many serious conditions.

Sleep apnea is a progressive disease, which may increase its frequency if left untreated. Studies have shown that in severe conditions a patient may experience even over a hundred recurrent episodes of apnea, during their sleep. The most interesting fact about sleep apnea is that it will be recognized more easily by any bedmate due to the occurrence of associated disorders such as loud snoring.

The symptoms of sleep apnea include abrupt awakenings from sleep, shortness of breath, episodes of breathing cessation, frequent urination at night, choking or gasping during sleep, dry throat as you wake up, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headache, feeling irritable, concentration problems, mood swings, depression, and personality changes. As the disease progress, it may lead to severe fatal physiological complications such as irregular heart beats since the oxygen depletion affects the normal functioning of the heart. The diagnosis and treatment at an early stage will help to avoid such complications.

A sleep apnea treatment is formulated, based on the underlying cause of the disease. The causes for sleep apnea are mainly categorized in two ways, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common reason, and it occurs due to any blockage in the normal air passage. Central sleep apnea is caused because of malfunctioning of the central nervous system, which controls the breathing procedure. A third type, called mixed sleep apnea is also a possibility, which manifests the combined symptoms of obstructive and central apneas.

Sleep apnea includes many effective treatment strategies such as medications, external appliances, and surgical procedures. The mechanical devices include continuous Positive Airway Pressure, Variable Positive Airway Pressure, Automatic Positive Airway Pressure, and Mandibular advancement splint. Surgical procedures such as tonsilectomy, adenoidectomy and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty are also proven treatments for sleep apnea. Neurostimulator medications are prescribed for central sleep apnea, however, behavioral changes and good sleep practices can be the primary aid to relieve from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder, which requires medical attention. The seriousness of disease can be due to sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation.

Jason Rickard is the owner of Your Favourite Shop - Offering White Noise and Relaxation CDs - Visit Hapa Health for more articles

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