Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when a person is sleeping. It is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. If it is untreated it tends to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, tons of time. Eventually it leads to the fact that the brain and the body does not get enough oxygen. As a result, the body functions are being repeatedly disturbed.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is more common form of apnea. It is caused by the blockage in the air way which occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
Unlike the OSA in the central sleep apnea the air way is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. This may occur due to instability in the respiratory control centre.
Risk of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect people at any age even children. A person may be affected with sleep apnea if he is overweight. More male population is affected by sleep apnea then the female population. Being overweight also increases the risk of the breathing problem. Having a large neck size more than 17 inches can also trigger sleep apnea. A large tongue, tonsils and a small jaw bone may also be the reason of sleep apnea. This disease also runs in families so if someone has a family history of sleep apnea he is more likely to be affected. Nasal obstruction due to deviated septum, allergies and sinus problems may also contribute to the issue.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
If sleep apnea is left untreated it can cause a number of other health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes and headache. Untreated sleep apnea may also be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities specially for children. Getting a peaceful sleep in the night is crucial for a healthy life and a sound mind. Although snoring sometimes feels harmless but it actually indicates that there is a problem with the breathing functionality of the body. It should be noted that is a person snores occasionally it does not necessarily mean that the person is suffering from sleep apnea but if this involuntary process is in everyday activity it may cause the above-mentioned problems.
If you think you have sleep apnea one has to go for the solution to avoid lethal health conditions in a long run. The treatments of sleep apnea may include the following:
By the use of a face mask during sleep, continues positive air pressure is applied to keep the air way unblocked. This is an effective way of treating obstructive sleep apnea. Some people find it easy to use the mask for others the bulky mass is a problem.
Oral Appliance Therapy
OAT does not require a bulky mass or a machine. It is a special device that shifts the jaw slightly forward, therefore, opening the airway and allowing a peaceful sleep.
This is a test that measures and monitors the heart, lungs and brain activities during sleep. The equipment hooked to the person who is sleeping also measures the blood oxygen level and the movement of the arms and the legs.
Surgery is an option for treatment when all other options have failed. For people with jaw problems it is the first option of treatment. During the surgery the tissue is removed from the rear of the mouth and the top of the throat. Tonsils and adenoids are also removed.