Saturday, 28 June 2014
Understanding Sleep Apnea: Common Sleep Disorder
When people have disturbances to their breath when they sleep, they are suffering from sleep apnea. Breathing stops for several seconds sometimes lasting a minute or more before the person gasps and begins to breathe again. The person remains in sleep the whole while and so does not know that he or she is actually choking while sleeping. People call this snoring in its mildest form and so they ignore everything. Why is this? They do not know that sleep apnea is a serious ailment that can lead to deadly diseases.
Most commonly, the people who suffer from this disease will exhibit two kinds of symptoms.
i. Mild stops punctuated by snores
ii. Long pauses where the face changes color due to lack of oxygen
ii. No appetite
iii. Have difficulty concentrating
iv. Elevated blood pressure
Sleep apnea occurs in two forms. One is that where the air passages undergo blockage by excessive growth, deviation of septum and enlargement of tonsils. This is common in people who have some illness or have excessive fat.
The second kind is that where the brain fails to make the move to signal the body to start breathing. Central nervous system does not respond making the person stop breathing.
One could also have proportions of both types of apnea. Then one has to treat them separately. Each will have a unique treatment regimen.
1) Excessive growth: As discussed above there is excessive growth in the airways. So, proper airflow is not established. This causes the person to choke.
2) Poor response from brain: The cause might be genetic or it could be the result of some disease. Brain loses its grip on the breathing cycle and thus is relaxed instead of being highly responsive.
3) Both failure of brain and blockage of air passage: Sometimes you have both the problems combined. The brain is deficient in its duties and there is blockage because of excess weight.
Treatment could be either internal or external. In the internal type, they give medication to stimulate the central nervous system. In the external type, one uses oral devices or breathing aids.
1) Patients respond readily to acetazolamide a nervous stimulant.
2) Mandibular advancement device repositions your jaw to help breathing
3) CPAP devices exert positive air pressure to improve the rate of breathing during sleep.
4) Surgery takes place to correct airways either to remove the excess tissues or to rectify the shape of the airways.
Sleep is a time common to all. Therefore, no one wants to get up and shake the person who is not breathing properly. If you wake that person, he or she will realize the problem. Once they realize the problem, you can take action to rectify it using medical advice. This common sleep disorder is prevalent in our society. Once you understand that someone has sleep apnea then you have to take corrective action immediately.