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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is technically classified as a sleeping disorder, and is caused by pauses in the breathing pattern or even infrequent/shallow breathing while sleeping. For one reason or another, the person sleeping either stops breathing or breathes much less, resulting in a drop in blood oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide within the body. After these levels reach a certain point, they trigger the brain to ‘disturb’ the person sleeping and compel them to breathe – which will partially wake the individual, though not usually enough for them to really be aware of what’s going on.

The result is a problem that can really impact the quality of sleep for some people. They might believe that they’ve been asleep all night long, when in reality they were actually waking up several times every hour just to take a breath. Sleep apnea sometimes coincides with heavy snoring, as obstructive sleep apnea can actually be caused by the types of things that cause some people to snore.

In this article, we’re going to talk about sleep apnea and what can sometimes be done to overcome it.

 How many people have sleep apnea?

About 4% of middle aged men and 2% of middle aged women are estimated to have obstructive sleep apnea in the UK. According to new estimates, as many as 18 million Americans may also be suffering from the condition, though many don’t receive treatment, and a significant portion probably don’t even realize that they have a problem with it.

Obstructive sleep apnea

 Is all sleep apnea the same?

The most common type of sleep apnea, by far, is called obstructive sleep apnea. This type is caused by the muscle tone of the mouth and/or throat, or sometimes the tongue.

When these areas of the body relax during sleep, the walls of the soft tissue may obstruct breathing. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a disorder that begins in the brain and has nothing to do with the airway. Central sleep apnea accounts for only 0.4% of sleep apnea cases. 84% of cases are caused by obstructive sleep apnea, and 15% are caused by a combination of the two that doctors call ‘mixed sleep apnea’.

 How do you know if you have sleep apnea?

Not surprisingly, a lot of people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t even realize that they have it – though there are a few symptoms that might let you know. If you experience excessive sleepiness during the day, snore very loudly during the night, or have episodes in which you are observed to ‘stop breathing’ by a partner or someone else while asleep, then there is definitely a possibility that you should take measures to correct the problem.

Some other symptoms include awaking abruptly in the middle of the night short of breath, waking up with a sore throat or a dry mouth, finding it difficult to remain asleep, suffering from attention problems during the day (due to tiredness), and experiencing morning headaches.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea, as they have many overlapping symptoms – though the vast majority of sleep apnea cases are usually obstructive. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, it’s always a good idea to visit your doctor – just to be safe.

 Is there a way to stop sleep apnea without surgery?

There are actually many ways to fix this problem without surgery – and many of the most successful methods are listed on this website. As it turns out, stop-snoring remedies are some of the best remedies for sleep apnea as well, mostly because they’re both usually caused by the same (or similar) things.

You’ll often find that, in cases involving obstructive sleep apnea, removing the ‘snoring’ problem will also remove the sleep apnea problem – which is definitely good news.

Of course, it might take a little bit of research to figure out which method is going to work the best for you – but the good news is that these methods are usually easy, safe, and definitely inexpensive.

 Is sleep apnea dangerous?

While sleep apnea might not be considered a medical emergency, leaving it untreated probably isn’t the safest thing to do. It can result in a number of different health problems and make you more susceptible to several different conditions. As it turns out, you could be at an increased risk for stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, worsening ADHD, headaches, heart failure, irregular heart-beats, and even a heart attack if your sleep apnea isn’t dealt with sooner rather than later.

 Don’t ignore the signs of sleep apnea!

If you suspect that you might be suffering from sleep apnea yourself for any reason, then don’t ignore the signs! It’s no secret that as our lives get busier, our opportunities to find more sleeping time quickly diminish – leaving no room for problems like severe snoring or sleep apnea.

In fact, sleep apnea can also affect you during the day – long after you’ve gotten out of bed and dressed for work. Failing to get a quality rest the night before can cause you to drag during the day. You might feel groggy and find it difficult to focus. You might be tempted to consume more caffeine to compensate for the rest that you didn’t get – but caffeine won’t solve the problem.

Eventually, you’re going to end up sleep deprived – and you’re going to find out very quickly that sleep-debt isn’t something that you can just shrug off! If you don’t start sleeping well, your body isn’t going to be able to keep itself in tip-top shape, and you’re going to end up being more susceptible to many different health problems.

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