Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Take prompt action when you have sleep apnea

Danger associated with apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that affects people of all ages. It has a tendency to affect males more as also people who are over 40 years of age. ‘Apnea’ or break in breathing, or ‘hypopnea’ or shallow breath during sleep is diagnosed using polysomnogram or oximetry.

Various kinds of sleep apnea exist. They are predominantly classified into three broad categories. People may have one or more types of sleep apnea.
1.   Central sleep apnea
2.   Obstructive sleep apnea
3.   Mixed or complex sleep apnea

Physiology of this ailment

Sleep is that time during which your body repairs damaged cells and provides energy and material for growth of new cells. When sleep disruption takes place, metabolism takes a hit. It stops growth activities and instead concentrates on trying to get your breath going again.

Rasping sounds or coarse guttural noises, generally referred to as ‘snoring’ accompanies these breaks in breath. However, most of the ‘snorers’ ignore these sounds because they are ‘used to it’. The ailment becomes ‘worse for the wear’ as it were since more cells are destroyed with every delay in commencement of treatment procedures.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea or hypopnea

Disruptions that occur during sleep are termed ‘events’. By counting these
events, one can understand how severe the symptoms are in that patient. To summarize, we have this list.
a)   Mild sleep apnea à 5 – 15 (less than) events
b)   Moderate apnea à 15 – 30 (less than) events
c)   Severe sleep apnea à greater than 30 events during one night
Polysomnogram is study conducted to analyze the number of events that take place during sleep time. It takes into consideration, various factors that affect sleep like position of limbs, rate of airflow, humidity and temperature of air and medical condition of person who undergoes this test.
In oximetry, one gets results that one may use to directly apply to make corrections to continuous pressure air supply (CPAP) device.

Treatment of sleep apnea

ü For treating this ailment, physicians use medicines and mechanical devices.
Acetazolamide has found wide use since it very effective. For obstructive sleep apnea, mechanical devices such as mandibular advancement device or a CPAP device to help person breathe comfortably. Neurostimulation devices may be used if so indicated.

ü Usually treatment will also envisage treatments for complications arising from sleep deprivation and hypoxemia. Low oxygen levels will result in poor metabolic activity that will cause poor health. Changes in eating habits would also benefit the patient since good food will increase rate of metabolism significantly.

ü Changes in lifestyle that involve stopping smoking and drinking alcohol or taking sleeping medication before bedtime, incorporating exercises in daily routine and sleeping on the side inside of supine position help. The physician will give instructions after analyzing reports of studies conducted to determine the severity of sleep apnea in the patient.

Dangers related to this disease

Interruptions occur to metabolic activities. These activities are so vital for growth and their interruption leads to many diseases. Primarily, it is found that diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and stroke. It increases risk of arrhythmias and heart failure. One is likely to suffer from lapses of concentration and that could lead to accidents.

Take prompt and effective steps

If you discover signs of apnea, you should take steps to begin treatment at
once. The longer you delay this, the more this sleep related disorder sleep apnea progresses and more is the danger caused by this. Consult your physician or go to a clinic to analyze severity of sleep apnea first. You can then decide on the next course of action you have to take.

(All photos are from Pixabay Public Domain Photos)