Obstructive sleep apnea is a disease that many fail to recognize until symptoms have caused grief to the family and employers. In fact, husband is often the first to realize that there may be a physical cause of odd behavior and symptoms of someone suffering from sleep apnea (OSA).
Anyone who suffers from this sleep disorder will often sneak very high. The snoring can be so high, actually that his or her partner gets some sleep. Someone with OSA also seems to stop breathing for a second or two during sleep, which looks like they temporarily hold their breath. The subsequent lack of oxygen causes them to be upset awake, but often they are completely unaware that they wake up many times during the night. Since the individual usually falls back and sleep almost immediately and then starts snoring again, partners often think that they are the only ones who do not sleep. This can be a serious strain on the relationship, especially if the person with OSA refuses to seek treatment.
It may seem as if a person with this sleep disorder gets a lot of sleep, so it seems strange to others if the person is struggling to stay awake during the day, even losing to sleep at inappropriate times. They may have difficulty concentrating and appear depressed. Since they do not really sleep on quality during the night, they may also have reduced interest in sex, and other personality changes may also occur. Some of these symptoms are similar to common mental illnesses, and others are seen by friends and colleagues as symptoms of laziness or veil. This judgment can add an individual's stress and can make relationship problems even worse.
If someone you feel suffering from these symptoms, it would be wise to encourage them to see their doctor. Snoring and impaired breathing during sleep usually has a physical cause, which may vary from person to person. There may be an obstruction in the upper airway due to excessive tissue caused by obesity, or tonsils or tongue may be too large. In addition, the airway muscles are usually relaxed or collapse during sleep.
Some of the causes of sleep apnea are also associated with other life-threatening conditions. A proper diagnosis is important, because if the person goes without treatment he or she will be at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat and other forms of heart disease. In addition to the physical risks associated with this sleep disorder, relationships with families, friends and employers can continue to suffer. Productivity at work will go down because the individual is so abnormally sleepy, and it can be dangerous to work with heavy equipment or drive a car.
There are a number of ways that obstructive sleep apnea can be treated, including the use of a C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine has a nasal mask carried during sleep. The C-PAP machine holds the air into the nose, which will keep the airway open. If obesity is a causal factor in sleep apnea, as it is often, the patient will be advised to narrow down. Weight loss is almost always accompanied by a complete retention of sleep apnea symptoms, and therefore some obese OSA patients choose to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
Because sleep apnea can be caused by various factors, and because the symptoms can also be caused by sleep disturbances other than OSA, a diagnosis of a qualified professional is needed before treatment can begin. Your doctor usually prescribes a sleep test, which is done by a specialized clinic. This test is usually covered by health insurance, but it is always a good idea to call your insurance company to see if they need you to visit a clinic that is agreed with them. The result of the sleep test will tell your doctor if any form or respiratory equipment is required or if surgery is indicated. Experimental treatments, such as the radio frequency procedure developed by Stanford University, will probably not be covered by your insurance.
Do you snuggle or sleep with someone who snores so high that you can not sleep? It's time to see a doctor to find out if sleep apnea is owed.