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Sleep Apnea: A Sleeping Disorder

By Olga Sen

In the middle of every night, do you suddenly wake up choking and gasping for air? It can not be due to a nightmare every night. You definitely need to look into the matter as you might be suffering from a sleep disorder known as Sleep Apnea.

In the night, does your snoring often make your partner wake up? And in the mornings, are headaches and a dry mouth regular occurrences? As soon as you experience these symptoms, its time to see a doctor, you may be suffering from Sleep Apnea!

Sleep Apnea is a type of sleeping disorder. The word "apnea is a Greek word, it's meaning, "want of breath". Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes disruption of breathing during sleep. Your breathing either becomes slow or stops completely during sleep. The frequency of disruption can range up to 20 times in an hour. The duration of disruption can last up to 20 seconds, bringing you close to death.

Sleep Apnea devastates your sleeping routine. It also affects your body. There are three categories of sleep apnea. All three are equally lethal.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a widely prevalent type of sleep apnea. It's caused when your airway gets obstructed due to relaxation of the muscles of the soft palate around the base of tongue. When the airway gets obstructed, it lowers the level of oxygen in the blood and leads to a condition known as hypoxia. It also elevates the blood pressure and increases stress on your heart. These conditions prevent the patient from entering into sound sleep. This makes a person suffer from lack of quality sleep. A person suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea snores in the night and wakes up choking several times and tries desperately to sleep again.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea is not common. It is marked by a brain signal flaw. In Central Sleep Apnea, the brain's signals instructing the body to breathe get flawed. As a result of this delayed signal to breathe, throat breathing, abdominal breathing and oral breathing cease simultaneously. Though the duration of interruption lasts a few seconds, it lowers the oxygen supply to blood and tissues significantly. A person suffering from central sleep apnea experiences high blood pressure, irregular heart beat and even heart stroke.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed Sleep Apnea is a condition characterized by a person experiencing the combination of symptoms of the two Sleep Apnea conditions Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is highly prevalent and common in people suffering from Sleep Apnea disorder. Let's look deep into the symptoms, causes and treatments required for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Causes

There can be several causes that lead to the obstruction of your airway passage during sleep, leading to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. One of the major reasons is that your throat muscles and tongue relax and shrink excessively than normal.

If you are overweight, the soft tissue in your throat can become stiff and enlarged and causes obstruction in the airway passage. The other reasons could be increased size of your adenoids and tonsils, which further contribute in the disruption of flow of air.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are choking and gasping for air several times in the night. Snoring loudly is also among a number of symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you would experience sleepiness during the daytime as well. You would not be able to concentrate and would suffer from dry throat and headache in the mornings. Among other symptoms are rapid weight gain, lethargy, high blood pressure, and lack of concentration and even depression.

Treatments

There are many treatments available for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The common ones are losing weight, avoiding alcohol consumption during the evening and sleeping on your side. Medical treatments include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Oxygen Administration. Surgeries are also performed and tracheostomy is a surgery used in treatment of severe Sleep Apnea conditions.

If you feel you are displaying symptoms of sleep apnea you should visit your doctor immediately for formal diagnosis.


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