Sleep Apnea Dealing With This Common Sleep Disorder

Sleep Apnea Dealing With This Common Sleep Disorder

One of​ the most well-known sleep disorders, sleep apnea is​ a​ fairly common condition. Marked by interruptions in​ breathing during sleep, sleep apnea causes the person suffering from this condition to​ wake up, or​ partially wake, several times during the night. Because of​ the frequency of​ these interruptions in​ breathing, a​ person with sleep apnea will have trouble getting a​ restful night’s sleep, causing them to​ feel the effects of​ sleep deprivation during their waking hours.

Two types of​ sleep apnea have been diagnosed: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. OSA is​ caused by the soft palate becoming so relaxed that it​ actually blocks off the breathing passageway, while central sleep apnea is​ caused by the brain relaxing to​ the point that it​ does not remind the body to​ breathe. While both types can cause interruptions to​ breathing on their own, most people with sleep apnea actually have mixed apnea, which is​ a​ combination of​ both forms.

Sleep apnea is​ sometimes difficult to​ diagnose, simply because it​ only strikes while the person is​ asleep and won’t notice that it​ is​ happening. Because most people with sleep apnea awake only partially – not fully – so they do not actually notice that they have had their sleep cycle interrupted. Thus, if​ someone wants to​ determine if​ they have sleep apnea, they will have to​ look for the symptoms.

The most common symptom of​ sleep apnea is​ excessive sleepiness upon waking. Because the sleep cycle is​ being interrupted, the person is​ not refreshed during the night and will wake up feeling lethargic, fatigued, or​ even feel like they need to​ go back to​ bed for another round of​ sleep. Also, people with sleep apnea almost always snore; often very loudly. However, a​ person does not necessarily have to​ show these symptoms to​ have sleep apnea. in​ fact, a​ bed partner may be the only person to​ notice the interruptions in​ breathing during the night.

Additionally, people with sleep apnea are often overweight to​ obese, so treatment usually involves helping people to​ lose weight. Treatment can also include eliminating alcohol or​ other substances that help people relax, quitting smoking, using special pillows or​ other appliances that help keep the airways open, or​ even special apparatus that uses air pressure to​ keep the airways open. This last form of​ treatment, continuous pressure airway pressure (CPAP), uses a​ breathing mask to​ pressurize the airways and inflate them, almost like a​ balloon. Though this form of​ treatment is​ more than a​ little disconcerting at​ first, they quickly get used to​ the mask and find that they feel much more alert in​ the morning.

Sleep apnea is​ very difficult for a​ person to​ self-diagnose but, once the problem is​ found, there are treatments available. But for people who are overweight and have large necks, smoke, use sedatives or​ muscle relaxers, or​ just drink too much alcohol, lifestyle changes would be the best place to​ start either keeping sleep apnea away or​ treating it​ before it​ becomes a​ major health concern. After all, not breathing is​ a​ problem whenever it​ happens. So by treating sleep apnea now, sufferers can keep performing the one act they need to​ perform every day and every night.

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