Sleep Apnea: All That You Need To Know

Learn more about sleep apnea through this article. Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that occurs when one is asleep. This disorder affects both men and women of all ages. Children, too, can be afflicted by this disorder. Without adequate treatment, living with sleep apnea may cause major complications, including sleepiness during the daytime, mood disorders, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and extremely poor daytime functionality. A majority of individuals who suffer from sleep apnea do not notice that they have this disorder, despite the fact that their sleep is interrupted frequently during the night.

People with this disorder will often awake during the course of the night because the oxygen supply is being restricted or is wholly cut off. When such individuals awaken, there is a restoration of normal breathing. However, they fail to enter a state of complete wakefulness. The symptoms of this disorder will largely go unnoticed because sufferers are not completely awake or fail to recognise that they are walking in the middle of the night. With this disorder, breathing may stop temporarily or become extremely shallow scores of times during a night’s sleep.

A symptom that is frequently reported and that is related to this disorder is daytime sleepiness, with some cases being so extreme that people have reported falling asleep at work or while driving a vehicle. Other common symptoms include poor mental agility and lack of concentration, which can lead to poor productivity at work and a hampered life. That being said, there are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA (which is the most common type) and Central Sleep Apnea.

OSA occurs when the passage of air at the back of the throat becomes severely blocked. When muscles present in the throat relax, the soft palate, too, relaxes, thereby causing narrowing down of the airway. This identical course of events also leads to snoring; although, not all individuals who snore have OSA. As one inhales through the nose or mouth, the airway narrows down still further or totally closes, leading to shortness of breath. The restriction to the flow of air results in a gasping sensation, which prompts a period of shallow wakefulness. When an individual is partially awake, normal breathing is eventually restored. This persistent blockage of the airways can occur multiple times during an hour, replaying the entire course of events throughout the night, thus resulting in a fragmented night of sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when an individual’s brain fails to transmit impulses to the body to breathe. The name, “Central Sleep Apnea,” has its origins in the words, Central Nervous System or CNS, which regulates the essential functions of the body. This lack of stability in the respiratory control centre of the brain can have numerous causes, the most common ones being CNS dysfunctions or ischemic stroke. Individuals who experience heart failure as well as other lung and heart conditions may also be more prone to Central Sleep Apnea. Learn more about sleep apnea through online sources.

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