A Basic Guide To Sleep Apnea

SA is a serious disorder

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to be interrupted when they are asleep. People who have untreated sleep apnea could stop breathing repeatedly while they sleep. This means that the brain and other organs will not be getting enough oxygen. It is important that you know about the different forms of sleep apnea, who is at risk, what the symptoms are and how it can be diagnosed. You should seek out a sleep dentist in your immediate area.


 The Forms Of Sleep Apnea

There are 2 forms of sleep apnea and they are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two and is caused by a blockage of the airways. This will generally be soft tissue at the back of the throat which collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain failing to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Who Is At Risk?

As with all medical conditions, there are certain risk factors that you need to know about. Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea as are those over the age of 40. Being overweight and having a large neck size will also increase the risks. A small jaw bone, large tonsils or a large tongue could also be risk factors. A family history of sleep apnea as well as sinus problems should be considered.

Health Problems Associated With Sleep Apnea

If sleep apnea is left untreated, there are a number of additional medical conditions which could worsen or arise. The first is high blood pressure because of the lower amounts of oxygen in the blood. The risks of stroke, heart failure, heart attacks and arrhythmia also increase. Other medical conditions associated with sleep apnea include depression, diabetes, headaches and a worsening of ADHD.

The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

There are a number of common symptoms of sleep apnea that you need to be aware of. The first is regularly waking with a dry or a sore throat. Loud snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleepiness and a lack of energy throughout the day can also be a symptom that you should take note of.

Occasionally waking in the night with a gasping or choking sensation and morning headaches are also symptoms. Recurrent awakenings or suffering from insomnia could be a sign of sleep apnea.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you are suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend that you have a sleep test or polysomnogram. This is generally done at a sleep disorder unit or at home depending on your situation. The sleep apnea test is a multi-component test which records certain physical activities which happen when you sleep. If the test determines that you have sleep apnea, additional tests may be carried out to determine the best treatment options.

During the sleep apnea test, you will be hooked up to some monitoring equipment. This should not affect your ability to fall asleep and many people find it easy to sleep with the equipment on. Portable equipment is available for home testing or for less complicated cases of sleep apnea.

The equipment will consist of surface electrodes which are put not your scalp and face and will record electrical signals. These signals are generated by the brain and tell your muscles to function while you sleep. Belts will also be placed around your abdomen to measure your breathing rates. An oximeter probe will be placed on your finger to measure the amount of oxygen which is in your blood as you sleep.

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