Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development, combined with personal support from expert life coaches.

Explore Article Library


What Is Sleep Apnea

By Scott Fromherz, MD

Are you feeling sleepy all the time? Do you snore? Is your doctor having a difficult time treating your high blood pressure? If you answered "yes to any of these questions, then you might have Sleep Apnea (also called Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA).

Sleep Apnea is a condition involving pauses or decreases in breathing during sleep. It is usually due to airway collapse. This collapse occurs in the nose and/or the throat - anywhere from where air enters the nostrils to the back of the tongue. Imagine a straw collapsing when trying to suck on a thick milkshake. Frequently, this airway collapsibility problem is inherited and starts in childhood. In the daytime, it is not a problem because there is good muscle-tone in the airway and the brain monitors breathing. But at night, the throat muscles become relaxed and the brain is not as attentive to the airway. So on inhalation, the airway walls can either completely collapse or significantly narrow. This is a problem because 1) the body must struggle to breathe and 2) the brain has to "wake up to reopen the airway.

These frequent awakenings lead to fragmentation of nighttime sleep. You may not remember them because they are so short. In fact, patients with sleep apnea can wake-up more than 30 times an hour and think that they slept uninterrupted through the night. Since sleep must be continuous and consolidated in order to be restorative, a number of cognitive problems can occur with sleep fragmentation: daytime sleepiness, memory problems, concentration difficulties, emotional instability, irritability, slowed reaction time, and most importantly, an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

There are also cardiovascular consequences of this constant "struggling to breathe." This puts a strain on the heart and blood vessels, leading to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Finally, there are social implications to Sleep Apnea. The snoring associated with sleep apnea can disrupt the sleep of others. In fact, one study showed that when a person treats his/her sleep apnea, the sleep partner gets the equivalent of one hour more sleep per night.

Sleep apnea is a progressive disease and often gets worse with age. Weight gain, alcohol, and other sedating/relaxing substances exacerbate it.

Who Gets Sleep Apnea?

A common misconception is that only overweight men that snore loudly have sleep apnea, but the facts are:

1) Sleep apnea can occur without snoring


2) Thin people can have sleep apnea


3) Women can have sleep apnea


4) Children can have sleep apnea

In other words, anyone can have it. Even skinny women. Even children.

I Think I Might Have Sleep Apnea, How Do I Find Out If I Have It?

Make an appointment with your primary care physician, or if your insurance allows it, go straight to a sleep specialist. If your physician thinks you might have sleep apnea, then he/she can refer you for a sleep study or comprehensive sleep evaluation.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

There are four main categories of treatment for sleep apnea: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Surgery, Oral Appliances, and Behavioral Modification.

The most effective way to treat sleep apnea is with CPAP. CPAP is a mask worn over the nose attached by a hose to an air compressor. The air compressor gently and quietly blows room-air into the nose, which "stents the airway open, preventing airway collapse. This is the most effective way to treat sleep apnea, and all patients diagnosed with sleep apnea should at least try it before considering other options.

Surgery can be an effective way to treat sleep apnea. A number of different procedures can be performed. These range from nasal septum repair to jaw reconstruction. Talk to your doctor about whether surgery is the right option for you.

An oral appliance is a device made by a dentist or an orthodontist designed to pull your lower jaw forward. By pulling your lower jaw forward, the tongue is pulled away from the back of the throat. If your airway obstruction is occurring behind the tongue, then this can be an effective way to treat your sleep apnea. The treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliance should be a coordinated effort between the sleep physician, the dentist/orthodontist, and the patient.

Behavioral modifications can help in the treatment of sleep apnea, but are usually the least effective. These include such techniques as weight loss, sleeping on your side, and avoiding alcohol before bedtime.

None of these treatment options is ideal, but they all can be useful in treating sleep apnea and resulting in more restful sleep. With risks like heart attack and stroke, you should do everything you can to get your sleep apnea under control. If you think you have sleep apnea, contact your doctor or go to a sleep center. It could be the best decision you ever made.

About The Author

Dr. Scott Fromherz is a sleep physician. He and his partner, Dr. Daniel Root, operate Oregon Sleep Associates, http://www.oregonsleepassociates.com. Located in downtown Portland, Oregon, Oregon Sleep Associates is the premier sleep center in the northwest. They serve the needs of both pediatric and adult sleep populations.


AND EXPLORE...

Addictions
Astrology
Careers & Employment
Communication
Creativity
Dating
Depression
Diabetes
Diets
Divorce
Education
Environment
Ethics
Exercise
Family
Goal-Setting
Grief & Loss
Happiness
Health
Kids & Teens
Leadership
Love
Marriage
Meditation
Nutrition
Organizing
Parenting
Psychology
Public Speaking
Relationships
Schools
Self Help
Self Improvement & Motivation
Sexual Relations
Spirituality
Stress Management
Travel and Leisure
Women
Writing


From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
 
Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd