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Sleep Apnea A Severe Sleep Disorder

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More than twelve million Americans are affected by sleep apnea

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Sleep Apnea Symptoms

There are a great number of people who are affected by apnea, which literally means without breath.

There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, obstructive is the one most often diagnosed.

Even though each type of sleep apnea originates for different reasons, they all have one major factor in common.

In each of these three kinds of apnea, people who go untreated, cease breathing continually during their sleep.

This can occur as many as a hundred or more times during a single night and sometimes hundreds of times during the night and frequently lasts for a minute or longer.

When the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and seals during sleep it causes a obstruction in the airway that is known as obstructive sleep apnea.

If the airway is not blocked but the brain does not signal the muscles to breathe, that is known as central sleep apnea. A combination of these two apneas is known as mixed apnea. An individual who has these apnea events suffers from broken sleep that is usually of very poor quality.

More than twelve million Americans are affected by apnea. This disorder is ever on the rise and is now as typically diagnosed as adult diabetes.

Some of the risk factors for developing apnea include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty. However, one should bear in mind that sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children.

Although this disorder can have dire consequences, there are still large amounts of people who have it, that are not being treated for it, because they have yet to be diagnosed. This is because there is a deficiency in awareness by both the public and healthcare professionals of this disorder.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

If it is left untreated, sleep apnea can result in high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. It may also be to blame for things such as job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. The good news is that sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated.

There are numerous treatment options for people suffering. If you are concerned that you may have apnea, before you visit a doctor for a potential diagnosis and ask your spouse or sleeping partner to keep a sleep diary for you. There is a good chance that your sleep issues will wake your partner during the night, if they keep a diary of your sleep habits for you, it can be a productive way of moving towards solving your sleep apnea.

When they awaken during the night, they can jot down a few notes such as how loudly you are snoring, whether or not you are actually asleep, and if you seem to be having trouble breathing. If you sleep alone, you can make use of a tape recorder to keep track of your sleeping patterns.

If this is not an option, it may be a good idea to ask someone you know to sit with you for a few nights and keep a sleep diary. If this is also not an option, you might want to look into visiting a sleep center where they can observe you.

When you have your sleep record ready, it is time to visit a doctor. Your doctor will start by performing a physical exam inside of your mouth and nose so that he can observe if you have any obstructions. He may decide to do an endoscope of your nose and throat, as well as x-rays or a CT scan of the head and neck. The doctor may also suggest that you stay overnight in a sleep clinic so you can be observed.

woman well restedTreatment is done on an individual basis depending on what will work best for you. Treatments typically include behavioral treatments and physical or mechanical therapy which may include surgery.

Medication is not typically an effective treatment for this. At times several treatments either in succession or simultaneously are used depending on the patients needs.

When the condition is minor, it often responds well to self-help remedies or what is known as behavioral treatments. A patient can try to loose weight, regularize their sleep hours, sleep on their side, and eliminate the use of alcohol or tobacco.

Many forms of sleep apnea can be successfully treated with physical devices and mechanical therapies. These methods of treatment include continuous positive airway pressure, dental appliances or jaw adjustment devices, surgery, and oxygen administration.

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