Sleep apnea is an ongoing condition that makes it difficult to get a restful night of sleep. People suffering from this sleep disorder generally experience symptoms or attack at least three nights a week. For others it is a nightly occurrence. Sufferers usually experience very light sleep because their body doesn’t get enough oxygen. Breathing is difficult and forced and a person usually snores very loudly as a result. Gasping for breathe is a common symptom too, as sometimes breathing stops altogether.
Sleep apnea usually prevents a person from feeling well rested. The attacks keep the body from truly resting and as a result sufferers are generally very tired during the day. Although few people realize their tiredness is the result of a sleeping disorder, it is definitely not normal to be tired day after day, even after getting a full night of rest. If you might have a sleep disorder, it is important to see a doctor. Sleep apnea can be a very dangerous condition if left untreated.
Sleep apnea goes undiagnosed in many situations. It isn’t an obvious disorder to doctors or to the patient. Since most symptoms occur during sleep, it is usually a bed partner that first notices. Indeed, your spouse is the best source of information regarding sleep apnea. If you are told you snore every night, or seem to choke occasionally during sleep, then you should consult a physician right away.
Sleep apnea is quite common. The US has more than twelve million adults suffering from it. There is a link between this sleep disorder and obesity. Once study found that half of all sufferers were overweight. Being overweight makes it more difficult for the body to keep the airway open throughout the night.
Ethnicity is also a factor when it comes to sleep apnea. Studies indicate that Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and Hispanics are at the highest risk. Caucasians suffer from it less. Of course, anyone overweight is at a higher risk. Additionally, it seems that sleep apnea could be hereditary. If you have any family members that suffer from it then you may be at a greater risk.
Sleep apnea is an umbrella term that covers several different types. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent. This form occurs when breathing is difficult as a result of a collapsed airway or other obstructions. The result is shallow breathing and loud snoring. This variety is linked with weight. Increased weight results in more skin around the neck area. This makes it even more difficult for the the throat to stay open during sleep.
Central sleep apnea is a different type altogether. This type of sleep apnea is caused by a miscommunication between the brain and the throat muscles. This can cause the muscles to over relax during sleep which results in partially closed airway.
Luckily there are a host of available treatments for sleep apnea. Some involve the use of mouthpieces or face masks to facilitate breathing. Many involve lifestyle changes: giving up smoking, drinking, or losing weight. Indeed, maintaining a healthy weight is perhaps the single most effective way of reducing your sleep apnea symptoms. Your doctor can help you find the most appropriate treatment.