Copyright (c) 2011 Joe Maldonado
When a person has sleep apnea they quit breathing temporarily while they are sleeping. There are three forms of this condition: Central (CSA), Obstructive (OSA) and a combination of the two. A majority of cases are Obstructive, and if they are not treated properly there can be dangerous consequences.
When someone has OSA, the muscles in their throat get very relaxed when they fall asleep. Then their airway ends up getting blocked by these relaxed muscles, and there isn’t as much oxygen allowed through the airway to get to the person’s body. The brain begins to sense that there is not enough oxygen, so it sends the person a message to wake up, and then they start breathing again. Most people who have this condition are completely unaware of it. People can get these moments of waking up nearly 30 times in just one hour without even being conscious of it. People who have this condition are not likely to seek help for it because they usually have no idea that they even have the problem to begin with, so they just continue to go on without ever getting a good night of sleep.
It usually ends up being a partner or spouse that informs someone that this problem exists. There are some people who experience similar symptoms when they have a cold, but it is only for a brief period of time. People who actually have sleep apnea will sometimes live with symptoms for several years before they end up getting treated for them. Adults who have this problem will often go through their entire day feeling tired and suffering from severe sleep deprivation.
It is very important for this condition to be diagnosed. The way that this is done is by watching the patient closely while they are sleeping and seeing how many times they have an incident of apnea. Treatment can then begin depending upon how severe the condition is for that particular person. For treatment purposes, the airway will be kept clear while the person is sleeping at night.
There are different ways to treat this very serious condition, including devices that are made to keep the airways clear, lifestyle changes, and surgery in severe cases only. Your doctor is going to insist that you make considerable lifestyle changes if you are obese, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. Changing these areas of your lifestyle will greatly reduce your incidents of apnea.
Sometimes all people need are some basic changes to their lifestyle added in with some exercises to strengthen their nose and throat muscles, and then the condition begins to ease up and allow the person to get a sufficient amount of sleep at night. If you are a person who has this condition, then you need to take steps to get the problem resolved. Your best bet is to schedule an appointment with a medical professional. Your doctor can set up an effective program for you to follow in order to effectively reduce your symptoms of sleep apnea.
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