About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a critical sleeping disorder characterized by a recurrent breathing cessation or significant breathing reduction. There are generally three types of sleep apnea - obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea.
If an individual is suffering from apnea of any type, his sleep gets disrupted and sufficient air supply to lungs is getting obstructed, even though the individual tries hard to breathe. This causes a significant reduction in the blood oxygen level. The normal breathing pattern initiates with a loud snort or choking sound.
Signs and Symptoms
Since the normal sleeping pattern is getting disrupted throughout the night, it means that the individual is unable to reach the deep level of sleep, which we all badly need for restoring our bodily functions. This leads to exhaustion and daytime sleepiness throughout the day. This poor quality of sleep may also lead to drowsy driver syndrome, increasing the risk of road accidents.
Additionally, the lack of oxygen supply puts a serious threat over cardiovascular system. Our lungs try hard to deliver oxygen in sufficient amount to all of our bodily organs and areas, even though there is a marked reduction of blood oxygen level. This strain causes hypertension and eventually increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
People at Risk
The fact is apnea may occur to anyone living on the face of earth. Studies reveal over 12 million Americans are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Commonly, there are few essential criteria that make individual more vulnerable towards having apnea, such as loud snoring, overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, decreased air passage size in noses, mouth and throats.
Additionally, family history is also believed to be an influential factor. African Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics are at higher risk for sleep apnea than Caucasians. Men are more vulnerable towards sleep apnea than same aged women. Sleep apnea may also occur in children. If you find your child is snoring, you must not be late to visit doctor.
The aim of the treatment includes restoration of normal nighttime breathing and relief different symptoms of sleep apnea like snoring, daytime sleepiness, etc. In addition, treatment methods also focus on alleviating other related health conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity so that the risk of heart attack and stroke can be possibly minimized.
The most common treatment method includes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Under this treatment intervention, people are asked to wear a specific mask over the nose at the time they are sleeping. This mask helps the individuals to blow the air sufficiently at an appropriate pressure level. Additionally, positioning therapy is also administered.