Sleep apnea is a condition where the individual has breathing that does not occur at the normal rate, or when it occurs but is excessive. Often times this may happen while sleeping or during waking hours, and can affect the person’s quality of life. This type of breathing difficulty has a much higher incidence in males than in females. The most common reason for sleep apnea is obesity.
Sleep apnea has been studied in relation to many medical conditions. While the results are preliminary, scientists are looking into whether sleep apnea may be linked to cardiac disease and stroke. The sleep apnea sufferer should have his or her doctor to monitor the patient’s heart rate while sleeping to make sure that there is no abnormality.
There are several methods used to diagnose sleep apnea. In some cases, an electrocardiogram will show an irregular heartbeat, while in other cases, the use of an endoscopy is used. Other symptoms that may occur are the stopping of breathing or gasping, snoring, heavy breaths while sleeping, and pauses during sleep.
Snoring is the most common warning sign of sleep apnea. If you start to snore and do not stop it immediately, it could potentially lead to someone waking up to take care of you or even having a heart attack. By attending to yourself while you are sleeping, you are less likely to do so if the situation occurs frequently.
Obese people are also at a higher potential risk of developing this disease. It is believed that there are some triggers that may increase the risk of this. Being overweight and obese increases the amount of fat tissue in the throat area, which decreases the flow of air, leading to breathing difficulties.
People who drink alcohol are more susceptible to sleep apnea. A decrease in oxygen level in the blood during alcohol consumption has been proven. This could be due to a decrease in blood flow to the brain, or a change in blood pressure.
Snoring, too, may cause damage to the upper airway, which is called obstructive sleep apnea. This condition causes the airway to partially block, creating the feeling of fullness in the throat that people commonly associate with sleep apnea. In some cases, sleep apnea can also lead to more serious problems such as a cold or flu.
Another possible side effect of sleep apnea is blood clots. When the blood vessels in the neck and the head become clogged, they start to form a clot, which stops blood from flowing through. It is believed that this can be a life-threatening situation if it does not get treatment.
There are a number of possible ways in which you can treat sleep apnea. In some cases, the person may simply require a machine that will assist him or her into and out of sleep at a certain rate. For those that do not respond well to this, it may be necessary to take some medications to prevent complications that result from these sleep disorders.
You may be prescribed an oral appliance, which may be made of rubber, which has been designed to provide excessive use of the throat muscles. A nasal spray may also be prescribed, which helps to keep the nose clear of mucus, helping to avoid congestion and the possibility of snoring.
As sleep apnea can be a serious condition, it is very important that you seek medical help for your sleep disorder. The sooner that you seek help, the better off you will be. Your health is your responsibility and you owe it to yourself to treat this disease as soon as possible.