Sleep apnea is a disorder wherein you
stop breathing during the night - one medical expert claimed to have seen patients who stopped breathing 100
times every hour! Most of the time, sleep apnea is of the obstructive variety, which means the throat muscles
relax to the point that not enough oxygen is taken into the lungs. The sufferer then awakens to open his or her
Another type of sleep apnea, called
central sleep apnea, results when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles of the airways.
Sometimes, sleep apnea is the result of a combination of these. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type.
In a sleep lab, professionals can diagnose the disorder and work toward appropriate treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep
If you are concerned that you may have
sleep apnea, evaluate this list to see if you may be suffering from it. If you think you are, see a medical
professional as soon as you can - sleep apnea is considered a serious condition.
Ø Snoring - Does your partner or spouse complain about your snoring?
Snoring, particularly loud snoring, is one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea. Snoring is said to result from
the vibration of the relaxed airways, particularly the soft palate.
Ø Daytime sleepiness - For many people, feeling sleepy in the middle of the afternoon
is considered normal and nothing to worry about - and for the most part, it is. But if daytime sleepiness affects
your normal functioning - if you can't drive for half an hour or so without getting sleepy, for example, or if you
have trouble focusing on tasks during the day - then sleep apnea may be the problem.
Ø Irritability - Even though you may not know you have sleep apnea, and you may
not even feel sleepy, your pattern of interrupted sleep may result in irritability that does not seem to have any
Medically, one of the most common
treatments is Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure, or CPAP. This device is a small box to which is attached a
tube and a mask. You wear the mask at night, and it delivers a continuous flow of oxygen into your throat and
airways, keeping them open and providing you with much-needed air.
There are also some factors associated
with sleep apnea that you can eliminate from your lifestyle. Smoking, obesity, and drinking too much alcohol are
all associated with sleep apnea.