Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which there is an abnormal pause in breathing or a case of low breathing. It can occur at a frequency of 5 to 30 or more in an hour. This type of pause in the breathing is known as apnea while the low breathing is known as hypopnea and they can last for some seconds to minutes.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a test known as polysomnography, which needs an overnight study of the sleeping pattern and it generates a graph in result known as polysomnogram. The patient suffering from the sleep disorder is hardly conscious about it; other witnesses of the symptoms of the patient while sleeping can only detect its presence.
Here are other bits of sleep apnea information that are very vital for the health and well-being of those who suffer. Although there is no direct cure, there are many treatments that help with the problem. The sooner the sleep condition can be addressed, the sooner something can be done about it.
Major Types of the Condition:
1. Central sleep apnea – In this type, the brain’s respiration control systems undergo some sort of imbalance due to which the brain does not drive proper signals to the muscles to breathe henceforth there is no muscular exertion for breathing which leads to apnea.
2. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – In this type, the brain sends the signal to the muscles to breathe but due to some obstruction in the airway, the effort of the muscles to breathe becomes unsuccessful due to which there is inadequate airflow while breathing.
3. Mixed sleep apnea – When there is a mixed type of apnea, i.e. a mixture of central and obstructive, it is known as mixed sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms
Following are the major signs and symptoms of the condition:
1. Choking, snorting, or panting during sleep
2. Long gaps in breathing
3. Waking up with a dry mouth or stinging throat
4. Morning headaches
5. Restless or restless sleep
6. Insomnia or nighttime awakenings
7. Waking up feeling out of breath
8. Amnesia and difficulty in concentrating
9. Loud and chronic snoring
10. Moodiness, irritability, or depression
11. Daytime sleepiness, no matter how much time you spend in bed
12. Going to the bathroom often during the night
Anyone irrespective of age and sex can have sleep apnea but people with following characteristics are in the risk zone:
1. People suffering from obesity or are overweight;
3. People over the age of 65;
4. People in relation to someone who has the condition;
5. Smokers etc.
Following complications may occur in case of untreated apnea (mainly obstructive type):
1. High blood pressure (hypertension),
2. Heart failure,
3. Heart rhythm disturbances,
4. Atherosclerotic heart disease,
5. Pulmonary hypertension,
6. Insulin resistance, and
7. Death in severe cases.
The treatment is aimed towards restoring the normal breathing during sleeping and vanish the symptoms of it. The treatment may include one or more than one of the following methods:
1. Lifestyle changes- In the case of minor condition, merely the changes in life style like quitting smoking or alcohol consumption; losing weight; using sprays or inhalers to open the nasal passage while sleeping etc. may help.
2. Mouthpieces- They are devices generally prescribed by doctors in the condition of either mild apnea or snoring or both.
3. Breathing devices- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a device prescribed in cases of mild to severe conditions of sleep apnea. The device gently blows air in to the throat helping in proper breathing.
4. Surgery- People having problem in the structure of airway are prescribed to undergo surgery as a treatment in which the passage is widened. The type of surgery depends on the reason behind the occurrence of this sleep disorder.
Using good sleep apnea information to diagnose and address the problem, those who suffer from this condition are often rewarded with calmer, “normal” sleep experiences.