What Is Sleep Apnea?

Author: admin  //  Category: sleep apnea treatments

We hear about it in the news. With the increasing obesity level in the US (although that’s certainly not the only cause), per capita rates of apnea suffers are on the rise.

So, what IS Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder which causes respiration to stop when a person is sleeping. A person suffering from sleep apnea will stop breathing from 10 seconds up to a few minutes. These pauses in breathing can take place up to 30 times in one hour. After one of these cessations of respiration, the patient will start breathing normally again, often with a snoring sound. Sleep apnea is a common disorder. According to studies more than 13 million Americans suffer from this condition. The patients are mostly men or people who are overweight.

Sleep apnea can manifest itself in two forms: Obstructive apnea and central apnea. Where central apnea is rare, obstructive apnea is the most common type. With this type of apnea something blocks the windpipe, causing the stop or blockage of air coming into the throat.

Though sleep apnea is a serious condition, it should be noted that it does not form a threat in the sense that it will not cause choking. Because of the lack of oxygen, the brain sends off a signal to the body. The patient will sleep lighter or even wake up. The throat relaxes, which allows the patient to breath normally again until the following apnea occurs.

Due to all the apneas, the quality of sleep for people suffering from this condition is very poor. Sleep apnea causes sleepiness during the daytime and also fatigue. This results in the patient falling asleep during day to day activities such as reading the newspaper or even driving. Other problems which result from sleep apnea are a lowered concentration and high blood pressure. The patient’s body and mind do not recover properly during the night-time which has the effect of shortening the patient’s life span.

Also, sleep apnea does not only influence the patient’s rest, but also the rest and sleep of the partner. Constant snoring and waking up can cause the significant other to also suffer from bad sleeping patterns.