Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a grave sleeping disorder that happens when an individual’s breathing gets interrupted in her or his sleep.  If left untreated, the ailment may lead to skipping breathing in your sleep, at times, may be hundreds times.  That means that the brain and the remaining body organs may not get adequate oxygen.

The sleep apnea may be of two kinds:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea, in short OSA
  • Central Sleep Apnea, in short CLA

OSA is more prevalent in case a comparison of the two kinds of apnea is done.  OSA is caused by airway blockage, usually happens if the soft tissue in the rear of the throat disintegrate in your sleep.

Contrary to OSA, in CLA the airway does not get occluded, but your brain is not able to give indications to the muscles to breathe because of unstable respiratory control center.

Are you at Sleep Apnea risk?

Sleep apnea may influence any person, irrespective of his or her age, even in childhood.

The sleep apnea risk factors may include:

  • If you are a male
  • If you are overweight
  • If you are 40 years of age or above
  • If the size of your neck is large enough (In males, 17 inches or higher; in females 16 inches or higher)
  • If you have large tonsil or an undersized jawbone or a large tongue
  • If you are afflicted with Gastroesophageal reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Having nasal occlusion because of sinus, allergies or deviated septum issues.

Effects of Sleep Apnea?

If sleep apnea is not treated, it may cause a wide ranging health issues, like:

Hypertension (High blood pressure)

Diabetes

Stroke

Heart-related problems, like heart attacks, unbalanced heart beats and heart failure

Depression

Deterioration in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Frequent headaches

Apart from these, if sleep apnea is not cured, it may result in your poor performance in daily activities, like at school or office. Among adolescents and children, you may see a rise in academic underachievement and accidents such as motor vehicle crashes.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea may include:

Awaking with a dry or sore throat

Noisy snoring

Waking up occasionally with a gasping or choking sensation

Lack of energy or lethargy during the day

Drowsiness while driving

Headaches in the morning

Fidgety sleeps

Mood swings, forgetfulness and reduction in libido

Insomnia or persistent awakenings

Sleep Apnea Tests and Diagnosis

If you are confronted with sleep apnea symptoms, your doctor may require you to undergo a Sleep Apnea Examination, known as a polysomnogram. This  is usually performed at the Sleep Disorder Center or at your own home.

Polysomnogram

It is a manifold elements examination, wherein the record of particular physical behavior is conveyed electronically while you are asleep. These recordings are then evaluated by a competent sleep specialist for determining whether you are confronted with sleep apnea or any other kind of sleep disorder.

In case sleep apnea is confirmed during the examination, you may be asked to undergo more sleep examinations for determining the best curing option.

What to Anticipate from the Sleep Study

On the sleep study night, in case it is to be performed at the sleep center laboratory, you may be allotted a private bedroom of the hospital or the sleeping center. Around, in the vicinity of your allotted bedroom may be a monitoring area, all the technicians observe sleeping patients.

You may be hooked up to an apparatus that may appear prickly. However, with small difficulty, most people find it okay while falling asleep.

Similar, rather, the more portable apparatus, is now available for conducting the test at home, testing, particularly for less intricate conditions.

Apparatus utilized for a sleep examination

During the sleep study procedure, surface electrodes are placed on the face and the scalp for sending electrical signals to the computing apparatus. The signals that are generated by the muscle movement and the brain are subsequently documented digitally. Belts are placed around your abdomen and the chest for measuring your breathing. An oximeter probe, seeming like a bandage, is placed on one of the fingers for measuring the oxygen quantity in your blood.

Other examinations and apparatus in use for Sleep Apnea

Electroencephalogram (EEG)) for measuring and recording brain waves activities.

Electromyogram (EMG) for recording muscle activities like movements of legs, teeth grinding, face twitches and determining the presence of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage.  During the REM sleep, dreams happen intensely because the brain goes through goes through sharp activity.

Electro-Oculogram (EOG) for recording movements of eyes.  These eye movements are vital for important in verifying the variant sleep stages, mainly the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) for recording rhythm and beating rate of the heart.

Breathing sensor for recording the nasal airflow.

Snoring microphone and sensor for recording snoring.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

The range of sleep apnea treatments is wider like making changes in your lifestyle, such as shedding body weight or changing sleeping positions or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or going in for surgery.

Home remedies for Sleep Apnea

Moderate sleep apnea may be treated by changing your routine activities, e.g.

Keeping you away from sleeping pills and avoiding the use of alcohol.

Shedding body weight.

Making changes in your sleeping positions and adopting positions that help in improving your breathing.

Quitting smoking. Smoking may enhance the upper airway swelling.  The condition may deteriorate apnea and snoring.

Stopping sleeping on the back and habituating sleeping in the right position.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure is a sleep apnea cure, wherein you are made to wear a mask on your mouth and nose during your sleep. The worn by you is attached to a machine for passing air flow into your nostrils constantly. This continuous flow of air helps in keeping your breathing regular.

CPAP is the widespread cure for sleep apnea. Parallel procedure is the BPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure), wherein the flow of air is changed while breathing in and breathing out.

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