What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common but nonetheless serious sleep disorder where a person’s breathing is interrupted when they are asleep.
People who have sleep apnea are usually not aware of the short pauses in their breathing that disrupts their natural sleep rhythm. All they experience is lethargy during the daytime.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea occurring when the airway is blocked and causing loud snoring punctuated by periods of silence.
Often time most people do not take snoring seriously or are embarrassed to talk about it but loud snoring coupled with fatigue during the day may be symptomatic of sleep apnea.
This is a common disorder whereby breathing repeatedly stops and start when you are sleeping. This may impact your mood, your energy levels during the day or your relationship with your partner.
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Some facts about Sleep Apnea
- 1 in 5 adults experience mild OSA symptoms while 1 in 15 experience moderate to severe symptoms
- There Is an increased risk of OSA among menopausal and post-menopausal women
- There are approximately 18 million Americans who have this condition but only 20% have been diagnosed and treated
- Even though sleep apnea can affect people of all ages even children, it is more prevalent among people aged 60 and above
- Sleep apnea is a risk factor for high blood pressure
When the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow you to breathe normally it is referred to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The muscles there support the uvula and the soft palate.
When these muscles relax your airway closes or narrows when you breathe in and your This results in the buildup of carbon (IV) oxide and low blood oxygen levels.
Your brain on sensing your impaired breathing wakes you up briefly to reopen your airway. This period is so breath you usually do not remember it. You wake up short of breath and it takes a couple of deep breathes to correct itself.
This is when you make a choking, gasping or snorting sound. This pattern repeats itself 5 to more than 30 times each hour the whole night. The disruptions to your sleep impair your ability to rest fully and you probably will fell drowsy during your waking hours. Most people who experience obstructive sleep apnea are not even aware that they were interrupted when sleeping.
- Excess weight, half the people with OSA are overweight, this is probably due to the fat deposits occurring in the upper airway obstructing breathing
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Narrowed airway
- Sex, men are two time as likely to develop sleep apnea that women