Overcoming Sleep Apnea- A serious sleep disorder
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where people face breathing problems or pause while sleeping. It is predominant after the age of 45-50 and mostly affects men. Obesity, excessive alcohol intake, sinus problems are some of the major reasons for the disease. Sleep apnea treatment includes alteration in lifestyle patterns, avoiding drinking, controlling weight, using respiratory devices and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Sleep apnea (or apnoea) is a sleeping disorder in which people suffer from interruption in breathing during sleep, which results in disruption in normal sleeping patterns. This sleepdisorder occurs throughout the night and the pauses may last anything from a few seconds to a couple of minutes! It can occur many times within an hour itself. Sleep apnea is most seen in people above the age of 45-50. 1-6% adults and 2% children may suffer from it. When breathing resumes, there is a loud snoring or choking. Twice as many males are diagnosed with sleep disorder when compared to females.
This condition occurs because carbon dioxide adds up in the bloodstream when breathing stops. The chemo-receptors in the blood are not at such high levels of carbon dioxide and send a signal to the brain to wake the person up to initiate breathing. When breathing is resumed the person will fall asleep once again.
Three major forms of sleep apnea include central sleep apnea (CSA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and mixed sleep apnea, which is acombination of the two. The main reasons for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are excessive weight or obesity, sinus problems, a small airway or blockage in the airway, expanding of tonsils, hereditary and excessive drinking whereas central sleep apnea (CSA)is usually caused by an inadequate effort to breathe or heart problems. Alcohol and smoking only aggravate the problem. For a diagnosis of sleep apnea, there must be at least five instances of breathing halts in an hour. Sleep apnea patients generally suffer from excessive sleeping at daytime, impaired vision and short spans of attention. Sleep apnea, if untreated may lead to increased risks of heart failures, irregular heartbeats, obesity and anxiety. If not treated at the right time, people may also encounter work accidents and road accidents. There may be chances of death due to insufficient oxygen to the body.
Basic sleep apnea treatment includes changes in lifestyle patterns, minimizing alcohol consumption, losing weight, quitting smoking and using breathing devices like Nasofilters. Patients are usually advised to sleep on one side throughout the night in order to avoid breathing problems.
The typical sleep disorder treatment in India is the usage of the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. There is continuous pressurized air entering the patient’s airway during sleep. It curtails the risks of heart failures, strokes, and death.
Several surgical methods are used for treatment of sleep disorder, though they are the last resort, only if all other techniques fail. Correction of the oropharynx passage is done to eliminate nasal obstruction and Tonsillectomy or Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty are commonly done to address pharyngeal obstruction. Sometimes multi-level operations are also conducted for sleep apnea treatment.
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