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What is Sleep Apnea Disorder?

Sleep Apnea Disorder is a sleep disorder which is caused by the interruptions of breathing during sleep. This can occur many times in the space of a given time.  It has been reported up to seven percent of men, and five percent of women suffer from sleep apnea. This involves the complete or partial upper airway blockage that happens during sleep while the individual is trying continuously to breathe.

Sleep Apnea Disorder can be seen as a common disease which has a powerful effect on public health because it multiplies the chances of strokes, cancers and even death from any cause.

The Three Types Sleep Apnea Disorder:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea  is the most commonly seen type of apnea. This occurs where the soft tissue in the back of your throat is relaxed during sleep to the extent it blocks your airway leading you to snore loudly.
  • Central Sleep Apnea is a less common type of apnea. This involves the central nervous system and happens when the brain fails to send a signal to the muscles which control breathing. It is usually associated with heart attack or stroke. This seldom causes snoring.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea is the combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. This combines both the symptoms of the obstructive sleep apnea and also the symptoms of the central sleep apnea. It is also known as treatment ? emergent sleep apnea. 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Disorder:

If you notice these symptoms,  be sure to get yourself checked for Sleep Apnea Disorder. Although Sleep Apnea cannot be known to the person suffering from it directly, you can record your sleep or ask someone to watch your sleep or better still go for a nocturnal polysomnography in an overnight sleep laboratory.

A stop in breathing, sudden gasp or grunt, waking up for a second and then going back to sleep are all common symptoms of Sleep Apnea. If the person also enjoys daytime sleepiness which is caused mainly by waking up too often during the night, then it is likely the individual may be suffering from Sleep Apnea Disorder.

Other related symptoms include:

  • Insomnia or nighttime awakenings; restless or fitful sleep
  • Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Uncharacteristic moodiness, irritability, or depression
  • Impotence
  • Decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up several times a night to urinate
  • Morning headache
  • Irritability
  • Heartburn
  • Restless sleep or insomnia

If you keep experiencing any of the above symptoms, don?t hesitate to visit a sleep doctor.

Consequences of Sleep Apnea Disorder

The consequences of sleep apnea disorder if not treated are too numerous to mention. It ranges from daytime fatigue to high blood pressure or Hypertension, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, complications with medication and surgery, liver problems, sleep deprived partners, accidents caused by being drowsy or sleeping while driving.

Treatments available for Sleep Apnea Disorder

There are various forms of treatments for Sleep Apnea Disorder. We have the self-treatment options for mild or moderate sleep apnea. Steps an individual can apply himself to correct sleep apnea and reduce the symptoms. A lot of this has to do with a change in lifestyle like losing weight, quit smoking, avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives, exercising regularly, maintaining regular sleep hours.

Apart from these steps above, there are sleep apnea alternative treatments like singing which can increase the muscle control in the throat thereby reducing snoring and sleep apnea due to lax muscles.

Also, throat and tongue exercises can reduce sleep apnea. Far from the self-treatments mentioned above, there is sleep doctor who helps deals with the chronic case of sleep apnea. They provide treatment for a central and complicated case of sleep apnea by first attending to the medical condition that caused sleep apnea such as heart failure or neuromuscular disorder.

They can also provide devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure) machine, which is a mask-like machine that will cover your nose and mouth and provide a seamless stream of air that keeps your nasal passages open while you are asleep.

Other devices are also available that can help in treating sleep apnea include Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) which fits over the nostrils. They are smaller and less intrusive compared to CPAP machines. We also have the Bi-level positive airway pressure device (BPAP) for those who cannot adapt to the CPAP or those suffering from central sleeping apnea disorder and needs assistance for a breathing pattern that is weak. Not forgetting the Adaptive servo ? ventilation (ASV) device as well. This takes care of obstructive sleep apnea as well as central sleep apnea by storing information of your regular breathing pattern comes to your aid by adjusting the airflow pressure while you sleep.

Dental or Oral devices can also be employed in treating sleep apnea disorder, but they could only be sued against mild or moderate sleep apnea and be effective. The most popular of these devices are the tongue retaining device and the mandibular repositioning device. What they do is open your airway by bringing forward either your tongue or lower jaw while you are sleeping.

However, using oral or dental devices needs to be fixed by a specialist and regular visitation to the specialist will also be advised so as to monitor any problems that may want to arise due to the use of the device.

Lastly, as a last resort after exhausting all other option for sleep apnea treatment is surgery. A corrective surgery can be carried out to increase your airway which will reduce the severity of your sleep apnea. Body parts like the tonsils, adenoids and also excessive tissue hanging at the back of the throat will be removed; jaw will be reconstructed to increase the size of the upper airway.