Health

Sleep Apnea and How to Manage It

Sleep apnea — just what is it? Simply defined, sleep apnea is a medical condition marked by a sleep disorder, one where your breathing may be interrupted multiple times while you are asleep. Sleep apnea is composed of two types: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The former represents blockage of the airway; the latter represents instability in the respiratory control center.

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Risk Factors

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, including children. You are more at risk if you are a male than a female. People who are overweight, at least 40 years old, have a large size or have a family history of sleep apnea are also at an elevated risk.

Others that may also be at risk are people with enlarged tonsils, a large tongue or a small jawbone. Furthermore, if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or have some type of nasal obstruction, such as allergies, sinus problems or a deviated septum, then you are at an increased risk of sleep apnea as well.

Cause and Effect

People who have sleep apnea are also more likely to have certain medical conditions and disorders. Common side effects include: headaches, depression, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure and the worsening of certain problems, including ADHD.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to poor performance at work during daytime hours, an increased chance of a motorized vehicle accident and academic underachievement, particularly in children and adolescents.

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How to Treat Sleep Apnea

Before sleep apnea can be treated, it must be officially diagnosed. Make an appointment with your physician to have tests run. In some cases sleep apnea is determined by the testimony of your bed partner — if he or she acknowledges that you snore loud and have periods of sleeplessness, that's a good place to start.

Treating sleep apnea is usually accomplished in one of two ways: surgically and through a CPAP machine. Surgery is typically the second course that physicians will take, only after a CPAP machine has been tried. CPAP stands for "continuous positive airway pressure" what enables the suffer to breathe. Specifically, it utilizes a mask that covers the nose, or the mouth and the nose. Or it may be comprised of a device that clips to the nose explains CPAPMan.com.

Surgery may follow only if the CPAP machine doesn't do enough to relieve your symptoms. Generally, however, a CPAP machine helps more people than it does not. It is also preferred by those who rather not be subject to surgery.

Sleep Apnea Assistance

Sleepiness is a big problem, one that can affect you in many ways, including your sexual performance, your on the job activity, behind the wheel, and in other ways you may not be aware of. For some people, sleep apnea can lead to deadly consequences, especially if it is left untreated.

Make an appointment with your physician today to discuss your options, including the best course of action to battle this sleeping scourge.

Do you have any questions? Please ask.