What Is Sleep Apnea?

The word apnea actually means ‘no breath.’ The two together means no breath. Sleep apnea happens when you stop breathing while sleeping. A person can literally have hundreds of these periods of non-breathing in one night. They normally last from 10 seconds and can be longer. The next time you are jolted from sleep in the middle of the night gasping for air you may well have been in the midst of sleep apnea.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

How would you know if this is happening to you? If you wake in the night on one or more occasions and feel as though you are having trouble breathing, you may want to speak with your doctor. He can set up a polysomnogram which will determine if indeed you are suffering from sleep apnea. This entails an overnight study of your sleeping habits in a laboratory setting. If you are suffering from this disorder, it is imperative that you get treatment right away.

Because sleep apnea happens when the upper airway either collapses or is blocked, this can be a very dangerous problem. Not only could you stop breathing for good but you could develop high blood pressure, heart problems including failure and strokes.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are two different types of sleep apnea. The one most people have is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is normally a problem caused by the soft tissue in the back of the throat. It collapses while you are asleep, blocking the air flow and causing the sufferer to stop breathing.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is not caused by the airway becoming blocked. This is a result of the brain not telling the muscles to breathe. Either way you are not breathing so this can be very scary. Answer a few questions and see if you are included in the risk factor segment of the population.

Are you:

* a male
* overweight
* over age 40

Do you:

* have a large neck
* have a family history of sleep apnea
* have large tonsils
* snore loudly and habitually
* choke or gasp for air when sleeping
* feel sleepy all day long
* have trouble concentrating
* have a dry throat when you wake up
* feel easily annoyed during the day

These are a few of the symptoms that may mean you have sleep apnea. If you are worried that you may have it you really should see your doctor. This just may save your life. Sometimes the cure for sleep apnea can be as simple as removing your tonsils. This can cure it once and for all.

Since there are no blood tests that will reveal the diagnosis, the condition cannot be diagnosed without a test administered in a laboratory. The fact is most people do not even know they have sleep apnea unless someone else has noticed they wake often during the night gasping for breath. The mind does not register this is happening when you are asleep.

If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, it would be in your interest to schedule a doctor visit to discuss this disorder. Since it can lead to other serious health problems as well, it is essential that you find out if you are suffering from this malady. Children can even have sleep apnea so the problem is not concentrated entirely on any one segment of the population.

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One Response to “What Is Sleep Apnea?”

  1. What Are The Best Sleep Apnea Treatments? | Sleep Apnea Made Simple Says:

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