Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

When we sleep we forget our worries, pains and illnesses. This is the time for rest. But did you know that you may be suffering from a disorder even when you are in a state of repose? Sleep Apnea occurs while one is sleeping.

Sleep Apnea (also Sleep Apnoea) affects many people who may not even be aware of having this sleep disorder. The main types are Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. Mixed Sleep Apnea is a combination of both.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common, the symptoms being snoring and daytime tiredness. The air passage in the throat gets blocked resulting in a pause in breathing or apnea. This may occur a number of times in a minute. When a person has apnea, his state of deep sleep is disturbed and he moves to a state of light sleep. This disorder prevents him from enjoying adequate complete rest. The result is fatigue and drowsiness during the day.

It has been noted that sleep apnea is more common in men, older people and the obese. A person will obviously not know that he suffers from sleep apnea. It is family members who will notice the signs – snoring and pauses in breathing. The doctor will recommend a test in the laboratory to diagnose sleep apnea.

Treatment :

Quitting smoking and alcohol and losing weight is advised as part of the treatment.Turning on one side while sleeping keeps the air passage clear.

Some others benefit from using devices like a dental appliance which will help prevent blockage in the nasal passage.A machine which assists breathing called the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) has been found useful by many.

Some people resort to surgery to cure themselves.Central Sleep Apnea is not so common. It is the result of the brain sending incorrect signals to the muscles which we use for breathing. Mixed Apnea is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.

Those suffering from sleep apnea are at a higher risk of being obese, having heart problems and even have a higher risk of heart failure. The deprivation of deep sleep may result in accidents.

Pratibha S

I am a freelance writer residing in Bangalore. My hobbies are reading and writing.