Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can be dangerous if left untreated. The disorder causes the patient to stop breathing during their sleep and can be life threatening. There are different types of sleep apnea that cause the person to stop breathing while they are asleep.
The first type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea and this occurs when the soft tissue in the throat will collapse during sleep blocking the airway. The second type if called central sleep apnea and it is caused by a failure of the brain to signal breathing during sleep. Both types of this condition result in the patient not breathing sometimes hundreds of times a night.
There are some risk factors that make it more likely that you will develop sleep apnea, but it can affect anyone. Some of the risk factors include being male, overweight, over forty, larger tonsils, larger neck size and a history of sleep apnea in your family.
You may be suffering from sleep apnea if you exhibit some of the following symptoms. Sleepiness during the day is often a symptom of sleep apnea and may be caused by your lack of sleep during the night. If you wake up with a sore throat or a dry throat you might be having difficulty breathing during the night. Headaches during the morning might indicate sleep apnea. And those who wake up frequently during the night also might be suffering from sleep apnea.
To diagnose sleep apnea you will have to undergo a sleep study at a sleep center. The center will test specifically for sleep apnea. There are many different parts of the test to determine if you have sleep apnea. Your test will also help to determine the best way to treat the disorder.
It is important that you are diagnosed and treated for your sleep apnea because it is connected to hypertension, stroke and heart failure. Discuss your treatment options with your doctor to find the best course of action for your sleep disorder. Your treatment can include lifestyle changes that will help to eliminate the problem. Losing weight, avoiding alcohol, stopping smoking, and avoiding sleeping on your back are all things that you can do on your own to correct the problem.
There are also a few devices that your doctor can recommend and prescribe that will help you while you are sleeping to help you keep your airways from becoming blocked. A mask is sometimes used that will deliver a constant flow of air to your nostrils during the night and is called a CPAP. This has proven to be very helpful for some patients.
There are also dental devices that can be used to keep the airways open during the night and prevent you from stopping breathing while you are sleeping.
There is also surgery that can correct sleep apnea. The doctor will determine if there is anything that can be done surgically to prevent your airways from becoming blocked during your sleep.
The doctor will have to determine the cause of your sleep apnea before the proper treatment can be used. There will be more visits to the sleep center to determine the best way to correct the problem and prevent your sleep apnea.
Make lifestyle changes on your own to diminish the possibility of sleep apnea and you just might correct the problem on your own. However, you should consult with your doctor to find out if you have successfully corrected the issue.
Sleep apnea is more than just an annoying snoring problem. It can be a life threatening condition that must be treated to avoid the complications that come with the disorder.
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