Apnea is a type of problem in the grown-up human population and is characterised from a decrease or stoppage of breathing when someone is sleeping. There are 2 main types - obstructive (which is more common) and central, but also a mixed type which is a combination of both obstructive and central. Treatment for sleep apnea can be nonsurgical or surgical.
What is apnea? In layman's terms, it means that someone has stopped breathing for about 10 seconds or perhaps more. These episodes of apnea have a tendency to occur more often when a person is asleep, thus disrupting the sleep, and often wakening the sleeper up. Doctors use various indexes which measure the severity of the sleep apnea to decide on their treatment options.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? In the case of central sleep apnea, it happens when the brain fails to send signals to the respiratory muscles. This is most common in babies, and in adults with heart problems, but can also be caused by some medicines. In obstructive sleep apnea, the message from the brain to the respiratory muscles gets through but breathing fails through an obstruction preventing the flow of air. Mixed sleep apnea is caused by a combination of these failures.
Obstructive sleep apnea influences a lot more males than girls, which is more prevalent and possesses increased intensity in overweight folks.
What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? Not only does it disrupt sleep, but it also causes heart problems and high blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke. Sufferers are also more likely none have accidents at work and on the road through lack of concentration related to not getting enough sleep.
How is obstructive sleep apnea dealt with? There are several non-surgical options varying from behavioural changes to medications and dental appliances. Behavioural changes may simply involve getting the sufferer to change their sleeping position, as most apneas seem to occur whilst sleeping on the back. A change in diet and lifestyle with a consequent reduction in obesity can also markedly reduce the severity of symptoms. However, these changes are easier to talk about than to implement. Dental appliances are sometimes used for mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea - these work by holding the jaw and tongue forward and the palate up to prevent airway closure. One of the best non-surgical treatments is called CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. This is a machine which delivers heated and humidified air under pressure through a mask to the sufferer whilst they sleep. The machine is light and portable, and most people quickly get used to the noise the machine makes, and to wearing a mask.
Surgical alternatives for obstructive sleep apnea involve palate implants, decreasing how big the tongue, treatments around the jaws, and surgical treatment of your sinus passages. Surgery should not be undertaken lightly because of the underlying risks of anaesthesia and complications from the surgery itself.
It is essential that you seek certified medical health advice at the earliest opportunity if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or know anybody who does. Continuing your life without recourse to treatment leaves you open to a much higher risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and even sudden death. Seek specialist help today.