Sleep apnea is a fairly common disorder and can be serious. The main symptom is to breathe for 10 to 20 seconds or longer while you sleep. This can happen several times an hour and the patient wakes up from sleep every time. This disturbance of sleep results in poor quality of sleep and daytime sleepiness. There are two variations of this condition. The first and most common is obstructive sleep apnea which is the result of the airway being blocked due to its collapse or obstruction. The second and less common type is central sleep apnea caused by failure of communication from the brain to the respiratory tracts.
Sleep apnea is a common and often misunderstood condition. Sufferers of this condition, as with many diseases, are affected to varying degrees from mild to extremely difficult. The condition is acknowledged, more often than not, by close relatives of the person suffering from the disease. There are several reasons for this. First, the sleep apnea wearer is usually more aware that she feels constantly tired and "does not make the connection" between sleep and fatigue.
The best way to think about this is that an alcoholic is usually the last one who recognizes he / she has a problem. Now it should not be said that a sufferer is like an alcoholic just that there is often a state of denial or non-recognition. Part of the solution is therefore to understand that there is a problem and then have some tests done to see the extent of the problem and what treatment may be necessary and sufficient.
This is one of the most common questions and someone suffering from mild symptoms may only feel a bit tired - not enough to seek medical attention. Basically, sleep apnea differs from snoring in a larger way. Sufferers wake up several times a night sometimes up to 500. Within a few seconds, the person is left to sleep again. This sounds innocent, but this rhythm makes so much sleep cycle so much that the cortex of the brain registers for the person they have woken up and then goes back to sleep to create a chemical imbalance that retains the condition.
It is therefore rare for sleep apnea to experience a cure naturally when not aware of the condition and 9 times when the condition is exacerbated.
In the case of the obstructive condition, a weight problem is often involved and fat tissue builds in the airways. This tissue tends to relax and block the airway during sleep. As much as 70% of these problems occur in people who are overweight. It is also more common in men than in women. There are some other issues that may be a cause, such as enlarged tonsils.
It can be difficult to detect or diagnose the condition, as the symptoms are excluded only during sleep. The main symptom is high snoring followed by respiratory arrest for 10 seconds or more. The person will then wake up and choke for breathing.
Doctors will treat the problem by relieving symptoms and restoring normal breathing during sleep. There are devices and nozzles available that help breathe, and these work well for some people. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove tissue that causes airway blockage. Some minor changes in habits can help. These include losing weight, sleeping on the side rather than the backside, and avoiding alcoholic beverages in the evening. Some herbal treatments are sometimes recommended but there is no evidence as far as any of them helps.
Acupuncture has been tested with some success. Some small studies have shown that from 10 to 30 acupuncture sessions will relieve sleep apnea-related respiratory problems, to some extent. No major studies have been done to confirm this.
To summarize Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder for which medical advice should be sought. It can interfere with sleep, cause sleepiness today and may cause high blood pressure or irregular heart rhythm.