Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent type of sleep apnea. It is a common sleeping problem that affects too many people! A person who suffers from this condition will periodically wake up throughout the night because of an obstruction in their airway. Often this obstruction is caused by their soft palate or other muscles and tissues in the throat area.

These tissues relax and fall back into the throat, causing an obstruction. The body tries to wake itself up in order to breathe again, once the lack of breathing has been detected. It is vitally important to address this issue as there have been many instances where obstructive sleep apnea has been fatal.
Effects of Sleep Apnea

Due to the frequent interruptions to their sleep, a person suffering from sleep apnea is likely to be tired and unfocused during the day. Some people describe feeling totally exhausted and as if they are walking around in a daze.

Everyone needs to achieve deep sleep so that the body is revitalized and to be able to function the next day. If a person doesn’t get the sleep they need due to experiencing sleep apnea, they may become weaker and more susceptible to infections and illnesses as their immune system breaks down. Our body heals and recharges while it is asleep, therefore, waking constantly throughout the night greatly impairs this vital process.

Possible Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are a variety of different factors to take into consideration when trying to determine the cause of obstructive sleep apnea. Excessive weight or obesity is one common factor. Since an overweight person has more fat deposits in the throat area than a lean person, they have a higher chance of suffering from sleep apnea. Older people are also more prone to the condition because their muscles and tissues are generally softer and looser than those of a younger individual.

Common Symptoms

Anyone who has obstructive sleep apnea will wake up periodically at night, but not everyone will remember their repeated waking episodes in the morning.

Fortunately, there are other symptoms that we can watch out for, such as unexplained sleepiness during the day, loss of memory, anxiety, irritability, sporadic mood swings and depression. If you notice any of these signs and can’t find any logical explanation for them, it’s possible that you may have sleep apnea and it’s advisable to see a doctor right away.

They will probably schedule you for an appointment in a sleep clinic, where you spend the night in the hospital hooked up to a sleep monitor. The readings will let the clinician know how often you stop breathing and how often you wake.

Recommended Treatments

Obstructive sleep apnea can be (and often is) dangerous and debilitating. Fortunately, there are several possible treatments that can be used.

One popular treatment is with the use of a CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure – machine. This machine pumps air into the throat as the person sleeps, keeping their airways open. The treatment can take some getting used to as it requires wearing a mask at night. The machines can also be expensive, so many people are hesitant in purchasing this very necessary machine, especially if they have no health insurance benefits to help cover the costs.

Another viable option is ‘Positional Therapy.’ This simply means modifying the current sleeping position to make breathing disturbances less probable. Elevating your head with pillows or raising your mattress may be beneficial.

If your sleep apnea is a result of excess weight, make an effort to speak with a dietician and/or go for a walk each day. Whatever you do, if you have sleep apnea, make some changes today. It is too important an issue to ignore.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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