Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a health condition far more serious than what most would think of. Sleep apnea is a health condition that happens when one’s breathing during sleep stop for a while, usually 10 seconds or even longer. Sleep apnea could happen 5 to 45 times per hour.

Sleep apnea is usually associated with choking sensations and often leads to headaches and sleepiness during the day. Its moderateness or severity is measured with respect to the frequency of episodes per hour, whether you have no breathing (apnea) or slower breathing (hyponea).

Mostly in Males

Sleep apnea occurs mostly in but is not limited to men and is non-specific to age group. Loud snoring is usually associated with apnea. People with high blood pressure and obesity are most likely to developed sleep apnea. Problems in the nose, throat, and air passageway can also cause sleep apnea. Early detection of sleep apnea is very important since it is usually implies an underlying health conditions such as heart problems.

In some cases, apnea happen when the muscles in the throat & tongue relax when one is sleeping, which eventually lead to blockage of the air passageway to some varying degree. Then breathing becomes noisier, slow, or even stop for a while. Obese people have great possibilities of having sleep apnea since they have more tissue in the airway that makes it narrow for normal breathing.

Range of Symptoms

The symptoms from sleep apnea can range from being minor to quite relentless. If it is felt the problem should be controlled, there is an index which can be used to determine the severity of the problem. This is called the Apnoea/hypopnoea index and it is used to decide the severity of the problem. Hypopnoea is the reduction of airflow which is passing through the airways, and the index calculates the number of apnea attacks with the number of hypopnoeas per hour of sleep. A scale is then used to determine the severity of the problem.

The Apnoea hypopnoea scale

An AHI of fewer than 10 suggests the problems being shown by the person who is snoring and snorting is not liable to have any clinical underlying problems. This is a good thing, because the person (or his family) can then start to think of other methods to stop the terrible din.

If the AHI is above 10, it is indicative of underlying problems, and it is suggested these are investigated further. These further investigations can include a specialist sleep study where the sufferer has to spend a night in hospital whilst special equipment is used to monitor the quality and type of sleep the person is getting. If it is found that he is being deprived of oxygen, it poses problems of Adult sudden death syndrome and also cardiac and stroke problems.

One way of combating sleep apnea is for the person who is suffering from the problem to wear an oxygen mask whilst asleep which will assist him with breathing.

Sleep apnea is no fun either for the people who suffer from it or their families who have to listen to the noise they make whilst asleep.