What Is Sleep Apnea?

Today we got a nice long juicy post about a very common sleeping disorder called sleep apnea (not spelled apna or anything else like that).

Have a loved one who keeps you up all night with their snoring? You might want to learn more about sleep apnea then.

Sleep apnea is estimated to effect more then 18 million people in the U.S, and this estimate was taken in 2012 so I believe that number is even higher now. I also believe that number is truly higher because that is just reported cases of sleep apnea. I know many people who have sleep apnea, or at least some degree of it and ether didn’t report it, or didn’t even know something was wrong.

As there are different degrees of sleep apnea some people will have a truly bad case while others will be mild.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea basically occurs because of obstruction in your airways while you are sleeping. In other words you have difficulty breathing, and sometimes your breathing will stop altogether. The best way to diagnose someone with this sleeping disorder is to pay special attention to their breathing. If you notice long pauses and loud snorting or choking afterwards then this could be a sign of blocked airways.

Generally speaking sleep apnea is usually a chronic condition and can cause you to wake several times during the night. A very common characteristic of sleep apnea is loud snoring and frequent waking during the night.

Because of the fact that you wake up frequently your body has a hard time getting into deep sleep which can cause you to get a poor nights rest, even when you sleep 7-9 hours each night. As of right now sleep apnea is the leading cause of daytime sleepiness.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are two main different types of sleep apnea and the first one that we are going to talk about is obstructive sleep apnea. In this type of sleep apnea the airway is basically being blocked or collapsing.

Can you spot the difference between the two? Notice how the first picture has a free passage while the second is blocked.

The majority of people who are overweight are going to most likely experience some type of obstructive sleep apnea although it can occur occasionally in healthy adults and children. This type of sleep apnea is the most common and can be treated fairly easily. For example someone could go on a diet, exercise, and lose weight to help clear their airway, or simply change the position they are sleeping in.

To get a better idea on how this sleeping order occurs check out this page and scroll down to the animation about halfway.

Central Sleep Apnea

This type of sleep apnea is less common and a bit more serious than obstructive. Central sleep apnea can occur when the brain fails to send signals to your muscles to breath during your sleep, as a result you stop breathing for small periods of time.

The main different between the two is that snoring generally does not occur in central as it does typically with obstructive. Central is also a lot more common with those who take medication or have a medical condition.

The Symptoms

The symptoms can be pretty bad and can occur on a daily basis.

The most obvious symptom that can occur from this sleeping disorder is fatigue and lack of energy. Here is also a small list of a few other problems that can occur from untreated sleep apnea:

  • Higher risks of heart attacks and high blood pressure
  • Increased chances of heart failure
  • Increased chances of work accidents
  • Depression
  • Fatigue and lack of energy, not being able to get enough deep sleep to feel refreshed.
  • Headaches

How To Treat Sleep Apnea

If you think that you might have sleep apnea then you are going to want to work on fixing the problem ASAP. First, try to figure out what type of sleep apnea you might have. If you can’t do this on your own then you might need a family member to watch you sleep and look for signs of ether central or obstructive. If you are still having problems then a visit to the sleep doctor is a must.

After you have figured out what type of sleep apnea you have you need to start healthy sleeping practices. Visit this page for an introductory to sleep, and learn as much as you can. From there you can start to incorporate some healthy practices such as:

  • Getting more sunlight
  • Eating a natural and healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Weight Loss

Once you start doing these things you will probably notice that your sleep and general health will get better. For some people this will fix the problem for others you still might need to do some work.

The Next Step

If you have improved your sleeping conditions and your sleep apnea is still there then you are going to need to seek a doctors help. You can find people who will help you at a local sleep clinic. Try to get in ASAP as the wait times can be long in some places.

You might need to get surgery done, get some sleeping equipment or breathing devices.

If you do have sleep apnea it is not the end of the world! You are going to need to make some lifestyle changes ad it will be hard at first, but after that it will become a habit which should make it seem like an everyday thing. The best part of it all is that you will finally be getting the sleep you deserve and as a result you will probably feel better and be far more effective at everything you do.

If you have sleep apnea or would like to share anything please leave a comment below.

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