Sleep Apnea: What is it?

Posted on July 24, 2011


Sleep apnea is a condition where one is having one or more pauses in breathing while sleeping. In this disorder, one may experience breathing pauses that may last from a few seconds to minutes depending on the blockage in the air passages. It is said to occur for about 5 to 30 times while sleeping. At a typical case, normal breathing begins with a loud snort or choking sound. With this, it may result to poor quality sleep making one tired for the rest of the day. Moreover, it is said to be the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

II. Can it be diagnosed?

The condition, sleep apnea usually goes undiagnosed. The time doctors detect this condition is through routine visits since there are no blood tests for this disease. In a common setting, the one with sleep apnea does not know that he or she is already suffering from it. Usually, a family member may be the one to notice signs of sleep apnea.

The most common type of this condition is the obstructive sleep apnea. Commonly, it is due to a blocked air passage or it has collapsed. This blockage may cause shallow breathing and pauses in breathing. During this process, when one tries to breathe, the air can penetrate the blockage and may result to loud snoring.  This obstructive sleep apnea is common to patients who are overweight but is not limited to them for it may affect other people too. For instance, children with enlarged tonsils may cause sleep apnea.

III. How can it be treated?

For cases of mild sleep apnea, it can usually be changed by having behavioural change. It is accompanied by losing weight and sleeping on the sides. There are oral mouths devices that may help one breathe in normally that are available in the market. These devices also helps reduce snoring in three possible ways. For one, these devices may bring the jaw forward, elevate the soft palate or retain the tongue from blocking the air. Moreover, sleep apnea is considered to be a progressive one and should not be taken lightly.

IV. What Now?

Sleep apnea can be very disturbing as it may cause fatigue to patients once sleep is in poor quality. It is important that one should take this condition seriously in order to prevent worsening of the situation. Consult a doctor for more of this condition.


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