Do you know someone diagnosed with sleep apnea and you dared not ask what exactly? Are you aware that many people are unaware of suffering from this sleep disorder? Can you or someone near you suffer from this disease? Let's find out!
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects both sleep quality and also the important breathing process. During sleep, the patient will stop breathing for periods of 10 seconds or longer which will wake him as he struggles to breathe. These absence of breathing are called "apneas". Usually, the patient is unaware of these fighting episodes.
Did you know there are two types of sleep apnea? The first is called OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) caused by relaxed soft tissue that blocks the passage of the air during sleep.
The second type of sleep apnea is called CSA (central sleep apnea) caused by irregular signals from the brain that affect the breathing process. In some cases, patients suffer from a combination of both types of sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea are: suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day, have a headache in the morning, feel irritated, affected by mood changes, suffer from anxiety, be affected by depression, become oblivious, sneak high and gas for air, have restless sleep, with difficulty concentrate and even fall asleep during the day. Note that these symptoms vary from person to person. Also note that the severity of the symptoms and the combination of symptoms vary from one patient to another.
Did you know that the first case of sleep apnea diagnosed occurred only in 1965? This is a bit odd when you think so many people suffer from this sleep disorder. First, only people suffering from certain health conditions, such as congestive heart failure, with sleep apnea, were diagnosed. It was also noted that problems with sleep apnea occurred after surgery, especially in obese, overweight or short-necked subjects. It later became apparent that, although noticed in these particular cases, sleep apnea affects not only those who suffer from these conditions or show these specific characteristics.
This type of sleep apnea seems more common in people who have a soft gum or other abnormalities like those that are related to the jaw, people who are overweight or consume alcohol. Did you know that 2% of female and 4% men diagnosed with a mild fall of sleep apnea stop breathing at least ten times an hour?
To evaluate the severity of sleep apnea in a patient, the specialist will evaluate it using the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). If a patient has less than 5 apneas per hour, it is considered normal. If it is between 5 and 15, it is mild, if it is between 15 and 30 it is moderate and over 30 is considered to be difficult.
Also the approximate time for each apnea (respiratory disturbance) is usually about 10 seconds but in more severe cases it can reach 60 seconds.
In some cases, sleep apnea may be caused by an external situation such as an accident, family problems, heart problems and narcolepsy. It was also responsible, either partially or completely for SIDS, also known as a sudden childbirth syndrome.
Sleep apnea is evaluated in a sleep lab. The patient spend the night in this laboratory and is carefully supervised by both a visual instrument technician and various medical resources that will also verify the level of oxygen in the blood, respiratory pattern as well as brain activity.
Well, according to the severity of sleep apnea, one type of treatment may help, while some cases may require a combination of treatments. The available treatments are: medication, anti-depressant medication or relaxing agents, avoiding alcohol, dietary changes, smoking cessation, airway enlargement surgery, patient restraining devices, special cushions, oral devices, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which is a machine that uses a tube connected to a mask and sends continuous compressed air to keep the airways open.
Sleep apnea can lead to death because it takes a huge toll on the body and affects other systems that can lead to fatal situations such as myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke or patient falling asleep for example and having a tragic accident.
It is important to know that while people aged 65 to 100 years of age are more susceptible to sleep apnea, it can still affect people who are not overweight, infants and children as well. That's why you have doubts about a close relative, a friend or even yourself. Seeing a doctor who treated sleep apnea can not only improve your quality of life but also gives you the opportunity to live a long and happy life.