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Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Written By : Dr. James Pendergraft 
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder wherein breathing stops and starts quite frequently while sleeping. These episodes of temporary cessation of breathing last for about 10 seconds or even longer. People with this condition may not be aware of having any problems in the night, but may feel extremely sleepy and groggy during the day. In obstructive sleep apnea, throat muscles tend to block and relax the airway.

As a matter of fact, snoring is considered to be one of the most evident indication of sleep apnea. Anyone could have this disorder, but most people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are men, especially the ones who are kind of overweight.

Obstructive sleep apnea treatment would mainly include use of a device for keeping your airway tract open or else undergoing a special procedure for removing the tissue from your mouth, nose or throat.

Causes

"Obstructive sleep apnea" comes about when your muscles and soft tissues of the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and the tongue in the back of the throat are over-relaxed. Due to this, the passage of air is obstructed by the sagging muscles. This obstruction to the air movement, leads to loud snoring, and when there is a complete obstruction, cessation of breathing occurs.

This could further lead to lowering the level of oxygen in the blood stream, thus making the brain sense the lack of ability to breathe. That is why; sometimes the person is awakened from slumber, so that the airway can be opened up. Mostly, this incidence is so brief, it is not recollected. This corrects the breathing for that short period of time, and this might repeat even as a pattern throughout the sleep, possibly following a kind of sequence of breaths, most likely even up to 30 times in an hour, all through the night.

During sleep, sounds like those of gasping, snorting or choking might be made. This prevents one from having restful good sleep, which leaves the person tired in the day, and it is no surprise that the person wouldn't even know if she slept badly, in fact she might even think that she slept well!

This type of sleep apnea is the most common one and generally affects middle aged men, who are likely to be overweight.

Symptoms

You might feel excessively sleepy during the daytime (hypersomnia), or might observe the occurrence of breathing cessation during sleep, snore loudly, wake up abruptly and be short of breath, wake up with a sore throat or a dry mouth, have a headache right in the morning, and probably find it difficult staying asleep (insomnia).

Treatments

Those who are overweight should probably attempt to lose weight. Alcohol and sleeping medicines must be avoided, as it interferes with the normal breathing pattern and could aggravate sleep apnea. Antidepressant drugs could help in milder cases. Some patients having a severe condition of sleep apnea benefit by the use of the treatment of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In CPAP, air from a compressor is forced into the airway via a mask over the nose.

Artificial ventilation during nighttime might be needed. In some cases, oral appliances might be employed, as it is much easier to use, although CPAP is more effective as a treatment. This oral appliance is designed to keep the throat open. Some of these appliances are devised to bring the jaw forward, relieving snoring and mild apnea, while others might hold the tongue in a different place.

To Your Health!

 
 
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