Sleep apnea is a common respiratory disturbance affecting more than 15 million Americans. Sleep apnea affects men and women of all ages; Even children may suffer from sleep apnea. Without treatment, living with the disease can cause significant complications, including sleepiness today, increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, mood diseases and poor daytime. Most people who have sleep apnea do not realize they have the condition. although sleep is often interrupted all night. People who suffer from sleep apnea will wake up often throughout the night because their oxygen is limited or completely cut off. When apnea suffers, normal breathing is restored. But they do not go into a state of complete alertness. The apnic events can continue unnoticed, because they are not completely awake or recognize that they wake up out of the night. With sleep apnea, breathing can temporarily stop or be found hundreds of times during one night's sleep.
A frequently reported symptom related to sleep apnea is sleepiness today, sometimes it is so extreme that people have reported that they were extinguished at work or while driving. Other common complaints are lack of concentration and poor mental agility that can lead to poor performance at work and an unsatisfactory life. In Greek, "apnea" means "without breath". There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common and central sleep apnea.
The cause of obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway on the back of the throat is blocked. When the muscles in the throat relax, it also causes the soft palate to relax, which then narrows the airway. The same event also causes snoring, but not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea. As you breathe through your mouth or nose, the airways narrow or shrink and shorten breathing. The airflow limitation causes a gasping sensation, which asks for a period of grounding. While it is partially awake, normal breathing is restored. This persistent blockage of the airway may occur several times an hour and recovers the events throughout the night and causes a fragmented sleep night.
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to send pulses to the body to breathe. Central sleep apnea takes its name from the central nervous system, which regulates the body's necessary functions. This instability in the brain's respiratory control center may have several causes, the most common being central nervous system dysfunction or stroke sufferers. People suffering from heart failure or other cardiovascular conditions may also develop central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can affect men and women of all ages, and even children can develop sleep apnea. Men are at greater risk. The risk increases if you are overweight and over forty years. Other risk factors include a large neck size; 17 inches or larger for men or 16 inches or larger for women. Large tonsils or a large amount of tissue on the back of the throat can cause increased blockage and higher risk as well. Obstructive sleep apnea can run in families, indicating that there may be a genetic component.
There are many different effects that sleep apnea may have on you, both physically and mentally, from mildly irritating to life threatening. One effect is excessive sleepiness today. Most people do not realize when they go for a moment or two, but the effects can be devastating. People may notice that they have problems concentrating and an increase of forgetfulness or difficulty learning new things. Some of these symptoms of sleep apnea can be confused with symptoms of depression because they are so similar. personality changes, irritability, mood swings, memory problems, feeling of sleepiness and perhaps one's feeling of depression are some of the common similarities.
A common sign of obstructive sleep apnea is a sore or dry throat in the morning during awakening. Often people with apnea wake up several times during the night, sometimes through their own snoring or from a suffocating or gasping sensation that is caused by their airway blocking. These waking periods during the night interrupt sleep and cause sleepiness today, which is another well documented symptom. Some other symptoms can be observed; such as forgetfulness, mood changes, headache or impaired sex drive. People with central sleep apnea can experience many of the same symptoms as people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Only one healthcare professional can diagnose sleep apnea. If you are suspected you have sleep apnea or suffer from the common symptoms, see your health care provider.