For some reason, when we consider our health,
the most important things that come to mind are things such as diet and
exercise, and people tend to almost completely ignore the
your quality of sleep
hygiene has on your overall level of health.
this has had the effect of making many people completely
unaware that they suffer from a serious disorder like sleep apnea. If
left untreated, sleep apnea can have very serious and
fatal consequences for the sufferer, despite the fact that most people
with sleep apnea remain completely unaware of the fact that they are
suffering from the condition.
is partly why it is so important that individuals
suffering from this disorder are diagnosed and able to get the
treatment that they need in order to protect their overall level of
health. This is also why so many organizations out there are trying to
spread the word about this disorder and getting doctors and hospitals
to better understand and be able to diagnose and treat this
is Sleep Apnea?
of the first questions that most people have is, “what exactly is
sleep apnea?” For those who are unaware, this sleeping
disorder is a
condition whereby an individual stops
breathing for short periods of
time while sleeping. Typically, this disorder is categorized by its
severity, ranging from mild to severe.
severity of this sleeping
disorder depends on exactly how long a person stops breathing and also
how many times these cessations of breath happen during an
of Sleep Apnea
are two basic types of this disorder, with the first and most
common being referred to as obstructive
sleep apnea. In this form of
the disorder, a person stops breathing due to a blockage of the air
passages in the throat and nose which cause them to stop breathing for
short intervals during the night.
blockages are also the main
cause of simple snoring, which is why this disorder is accompanied by
loud and frequent snoring.
other, much less common form of this disorder is known as central
sleep apnea. This disorder is caused by a central nervous
problem which prevents the person from breathing for short periods
While it is estimated
that up to 20 or even 30%
of the adult population suffers from disorder to some extent or
another, the instances of central sleep apnea make up less than five
percent of the total cases and it is actually quite rare.
Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment Options
stated earlier, most people remain completely unaware that they are
suffering from this type of sleeping disorder. They may have been told
that they snore uncontrollably, but most just pass it off as simple
snoring, when in fact it may very well be caused by apnea.
people are first alerted to the fact that they might have this disorder
by a partner who notices
that their breathing stops for short periods
while they sleep. Even so, most people still do not get properly
diagnosed and treated.
there is only one way to diagnose this sleeping disorder,
and that is to undergo a
sleep study or polysomnogram. This type of
test usually requires the individual to spend a night in a sleep
clinic, where they will sleep while hooked up to machines
measure their heart rate, breathing, blood oxygen saturation levels,
and many other things.
looking at the results, a sleep specialist is
usually then able to determine whether or not the person suffers from
this condition, and if so, how severe their apnea really is.
most people think of a sleeping disorder, they imagine that they
can simply take pills or other sleeping medication and this will
eliminate the problem. While this may be somewhat true for sleeping
disorders such as insomnia, it is actually completely wrong for apnea
and may actually worsen
are no effective sleep apnea
medications on the market, and pretty much all of the effective
treatment options require the continual nightly use of a sleeping or
actual treatment options for this disorder depend on exactly how
severe the disorder is determined to be. For those who only suffer from
a mild form of this disorder, there are actually quite a few different
treatment options that may be able to help.
options include a
number of different anti-snoring
devices, such as specially designed
pillows, mouth guards, chin straps, nasal dilators, nose strips, and
many others. In fact, most any device that is designed to open the
airways while sleeping should be fairly effective at
completely eliminating mild forms of this disorder. Some of these
devices are even effective for those with more moderate forms of this
disorder, although these people should consult their doctor before
using any sleeping device.
if the sleep study determines that you are suffering from a
severe form of this sleeping disorder, then there is typically only one
treatment option available to you, and this is known as CPAP
(continuous positive airway pressure).
a machine that blows a
continuous stream of air into your mouth or nose via a sleep apnea
mask, and is basically the only treatment option available to those
suffering from more serious forms of apnea.
course, there are a few surgical
options for sleep apnea available as well, but like
all surgeries, they come with their own inherent risks, and none have
yet to be proven to be completely effective at eliminating apnea. If
you think you may be suffering from this disorder, it is essential to
with your doctor as soon as possible so you can get the
treatment that you need.
to What is Sleep Apnea
to the Snoring