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Sleep Apnea Is More Common Than You Might Think


Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during brief intervals during the night. Amazingly, people who are afflicted with this stop breathing for ten seconds or more and sometimes stop breathing more than three hundred times each night.

Believe it or not, sleep apnea can be life threatening and cause major problems in your social life. It makes living day to day very hard and can cause you to become emotionally disturbed.

As a victim sleeps, they constantly wake up during the night but do not realize there is a problem when they awaken in the morning.

Sleep apnea comes in two different types: obstructive and central. The former is the most common and occurs when tissue in the back of the throat interferes with the airflow. This blockage can be caused by the tongue, fatty tissue in the thrat, tonsils or uvula.

Central sleep apnea is very rare and is related to the nervous system. People who have this type are getting bad messages from their brain and their breathing muscles do not work right, as a result. There is actually no effort to breathe for brief periods of time throughout the night. People with this type do not typically snore.

Estimates say that over twelve million people in America suffer with one or the other. It is more common in men over the age of forty and those who are obese.

If things are not taken care of this medical condition can lead to hypertension, death, coronary artery disease, memory loss, myocardial infarction, cognitive dysfunction, stroke, impotence and psychiatric problems.

Diagnosis will be confirmed after a close look at your medical history and symptoms. You will likely be asked many questions about the quality of sleep you are getting and they will be curious about how you feel during the day.

Chances are that you will go through a variety of tests before being diagnosed. A Polysomnography records many of your body’s functions as you sleep and is used to both diagnose sleep apnea and determine how severe it is. A Multiple Sleep Latency Test, or MSLT, can be used to determine how fast you fall asleep. EEG is often used to show arrhythmias. An Echocardiogram is used to make sure that your heart is functioning correctly.

It can be really difficult for the person suffering with this medical disorder to know that anything is out of sorts. It is therefore important, as a spouse or family member, to be aware and take note if anything seems unusual.

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