Sleep Apnea Treatments – No More Restless Nights!

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Sleep Apnea Treatments – No More Restless Nights!

In order to find the best in sleep apnea treatments, it is necessary to determine what is causing the sleep apnea. Finding the cause of any problem is always an important first step in finding the solution. This article will provide an overview of the condition of sleep apnea, its types, symptoms and treatments.

Sleep Apnea: Definition, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Basically, sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing or has abnormally shallow breathing during sleep. The shallow breathing or pauses in breathing happen from five to thirty or more times per hour, up to hundreds of times per night. These episodes can last from a minute or longer. During this abnormal breathing, the oxygen level of the blood drops to dangerous levels. The drop in the blood oxygen level then causes the brain to send a signal to the body to arouse and breathe. And the person is totally unaware that this is happening.

More than twelve million Americans are affected by sleep apnea. And many more remain undiagnosed. It is estimated that nine percent of women and 24 percent of men have this disorder but have not yet been diagnosed. This is because this is a condition that is not detected during a routine medical exam or by a blood test. Typically it is first brought to light by a family member who notices some of the symptoms such as loud snoring, a sudden stop in breathing for a minute or more followed by gasping for air or restless flailing during sleep.

Other sleep apnea symptoms that may indicate a problem include:

excessive daytime sleepiness
large neck circumference
undersized jaw
large tongue volume
morning headaches
mood swings, depression, irritability
memory or learning difficulties
sexual dysfunction

For a final diagnosis, a sleep study needs to be completed. Usually this is done in a sleep clinic. However, a home test is now possible, eliminating the need for an overnight stay in the clinic.

Types of Sleep Apnea

It is essential to know the type and severity of this disorder to determine the best cure from the sleep apnea treatments available. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Within these types, the severity can range from mild to moderate to severe.

The least common type is central sleep apnea (CSA). In this condition, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Typically, there is no snoring with CSA. Central sleep apnea is more common with certain medical conditions or can be a result of drugs, such as opiates or excessive alcohol.

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this type, the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and closes during sleep, closing off the airway, either partially or completely. It happens during sleep because this is when the muscles relax.  When the airway closes, snoring suddenly stops or, if the person tries to breathe with the closed airway, loud snoring or gasping occurs.

The final type is mixed sleep apnea. This is a combination of the obstructive and central types. When obstructive sleep apnea is severe and long-standing, episodes of central sleep apnea may develop. This then results in the condition called mixed sleep apnea.

As it is the most common, let’s look more closely at obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Closer Look

Because OSA occurs when the soft tissue blocks the airway passage, people who are at risk are those with excessive tissue or excessive muscle relaxation or both. These include overweight males over the age of 40, the elderly, people under the influence of alcohol, smokers and children with enlarged tonsils. This is just a brief list of possible risk factors for OSA.

The treatment of OSA involves preventing the soft tissue from blocking the airway.   To choose the best sleep apnea treatment, you need to look at the specific cause of the blockage. If it is a lifestyle factor, such as obesity, the cure would be to lose weight. If the cause is a large tongue volume, surgery or a mouthpiece may be the cure. Or, if the OSA is due to abnormal muscle relaxation, then perhaps breathing devices are appropriate.

Importance of Sleep Apnea Treatment

The long-term effects of untreated sleep apnea include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and memory problems. Most of these conditions can lead to an early death. The importance of treating sleep apnea cannot be understated. Do not just “live with it”. Sleep apnea, no matter what its cause, needs to be corrected, if not cured.

Why look for treatments when there are sleep apnea cures? Visit right now!

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