Understanding The Causes And Treatment Of Sleep Apnea

You may have heard of the term sleep Apnea before, but do you really know what it is? Sleep Apnea is the type of sleeping disorder whereby the affected individuals experiences difficulties in breathing while they are asleep. This disease can affect any individual regardless of age or gender. The affected individuals stop breathing for about 10 seconds or more and this is very dangerous since it causes the oxygen level in the blood to go down. If one does not seek the proper treatment in advance then this disease can lead to significant complications such as daytime sleepiness, mood disorders, poor daytime function and can likewise increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Numerous individuals suffering from sleep Apnea do not realize whether they have this disorder even though they experience disruption while asleep. It is hard for sleep Apnea sufferers to know whether they have this disorder because the disruption they experience while asleep does not lead to complete wakefulness. 

The most commonly reported issues related to sleep Apnea is daytime sleepiness which is sometimes so extreme that individuals have been reported to drift off at work or amid driving. Some other complaints include poor concentration and mental agility which results in poor performance at the workplace and unfulfilling life. 

There are two known types of sleep Apnea which are the Obstructive Sleep Apnea and the Central Sleep Apnea. The former is the most common type of sleep Apnea. 

Obstructive sleep Apnea happens when the air passage at the back of the throat gets blocked. As the throat muscle relaxes, the soft palate relaxes too and thus narrowing the airway. As an individual breathes in through the nose or mouth, the airway narrow further or fully closes and thus cutting the breath short. This result in a gasping sensation that leads to shallow wakefulness and then the normal breathing gets restored. This can happen several times per hour replaying the same course of events throughout the night hence resulting in fragmented sleep at night.

On the other hand, the Central Sleep Apnea happens as a result of the brain failing to send the impulse to the body to breath. It derives its name from the CNS (Central Nervous System) that is responsible for regulating the normal body functions. It can occur as a result of the CNS dysfunctions or an individual could have suffered a stroke. Likewise, individuals heart and lung conditions can also experience Central Sleep Apnea.

Signs and Symptoms

Sore or a dry throat amid the morning can be a sign of obstructive sleep Apnea. Most individuals suffering from obstructive sleep Apnea will wake repeated at night as a result of their own snoring or gasping sensation that results from blocked airways. This interrupts normal sleep and leads to daytime sleepiness. Other symptoms include headache, mood changes, and forgetfulness or decreased sex drive. Individuals with central Apnea can experience these symptoms too.

What Should Be Done?

Numerous treatment options for sleep Apnea are available ranging from a conservative surgery to the major surgery.

The most frequent treatment option is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP machines have a uniquely fitted mask which covers the nose and/or mouth while one is asleep. This machine helps to deliver a steady flow of air to the nostrils. Pressurized air directed in the airways helps to open the airways to restore proper breathing while asleep.

Surgery can also be done to cure sleep Apnea too. In this case, the surgical operation involves procedures meant to the diameter of the airway. 

People suffering from sleep Apnea can likewise to be advised to change their lifestyle. For instance, you may be advised to lose weight to alleviate throat constriction, stay away from alcohol, etc. 

If you feel like you are experiencing any of the above symptoms you are highly advised to see your doctor.

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