What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder which usually occurs when an individual’s normal breathing is interrupted during sleep. Typically, people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea tend to stop breathing frequently during sleep time.
The interruption of normal breathing can occur once or several times. The condition deprives the brain and other body organs of enough oxygen which can turn out to be catastrophic.
Normal breathing resumes after sometimes usually with a heavy snoring or irritating sound.
Sleep apnea is a repetitive condition, and when it occurs, the affected person moves out of very deep sleep into somehow light sleep.
Overview of the Condition
In most cases, the condition goes undiagnosed since doctors are unable to detect it during your routine medical checkups.
There is also no any blood test that can be performed to assist in identifying the condition. On the other hand, a significant number of people who are affected by the disorder don’t recognize that they have it since it only manifests when they are asleep.
The only person who can notice the disease is a close family member or a bed partner. Sleep apnea can make a person wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed and tired even though they have had extended hours of sleep.
You may also feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating on other duties or fall asleep unintentionally. Sleep apnea can also cause other medical complications such as depression, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.
Types of the Disorder
The two known types of the disorder are obstructive sleep apnea and the central sleep apnea. The most prevalent type is the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is usually caused by the blockage of the only airway in the throat when the elastic tissues in the rear part of the throat collapse during sleep.
The blocking of the soft tissue results in partial or complete breathing pauses. Whenever the victim tries to breathe, the squeezing of the air past the blocked throat tissue causes consistent snoring. OSA is prevalent among individuals who are obese but can also affect anyone.
The other type of the disorder which isn’t common is the central sleep apnea (CSA). Unlike the OSA, the airway isn’t blocked, but your brain doesn’t send the necessary signals to the muscles that initiate breathing.
This is usually due to a miscommunication in the central respiratory control center. The brain part that controls breathing fails to send signals to the breathing muscles hence your body doesn’t make any attempt to breathe for some time. CSA can occur together with the OSA or alone.
The prevalent symptoms of the disorder include;
Loud and frequent snoring at night
Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
Decreased sexual desire
Gasping and choking sounds as you sleep
What Are the Main Causes of the Condition?
In children, the leading causes of OSA include enlarged adenoids or tonsils and other related dental conditions such as a massive overbite.
The less common cause of OSA in children includes a tumor in the airway or congenital disabilities such as the Pierre-Robin Syndrome and the Down syndrome.
In adults, the leading cause of OSA is obesity and excess weight which is usually associated with a soft tissue of the throat and the tongue. The soft tissue can cause the airway to be blocked at night when both the tongue and the mouth muscles are relaxed.
However, several other factors are associated with OSA in adults. The other risk factors include smoking and excessive alcohol use, genetic factors such as a thick neck, narrow throat, and round head. Excessive and abnormal growth due to overproduction of the growth hormones can also lead to sleep apnea.
CPAP Therapy: What Is CPAP And How Does It Works?
If you are reading this post, you’re likely concerned that you, or even your bed-partner, might be suffering from what is known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Therefore, you are doing a bit of preliminary research on treatment alternative. You may have heard about CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure therapy, but you are still not clear as to what exactly it is or how it works.
CPAP devices are the commonly used options for treating people with breathing problems, particularly obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Those who suffer from OSA experience breath cessations where obstructions in their airway will cause them from stopping to breath for some seconds at a time all through the night.
Based on the severity of your sleep apnea, sufferers might experience 5 – 100 interruptions each hour in their breathing! Now, these interruptions can result in a variety of health problems which range from chronic day drowsiness as well as restless sleep to disease of the heart and stroke.
What’s a CPAP and how does it work?
What CPAP machines do is gently blow pressurized air via your airway at a steady pressure that will keep your throat from collapsing. The machines for continuous positive airway pressure are very basic and simple to use and consist of three (3) major parts:
This is a small compressor that draws in the air of room temperature and gradually pressurizes it to send the good amount of air pressure which you need for clearing your obstruction.
The machine’s air intake portion has a replaceable filter which screens out impurities and particulates. A lot of newer CPAP machines have a small water tank which, when switched on, will heat up the water to give moisture to the air that you breathe in.
These in-built humidifiers are suitable for people living in arid or dry climates and people that always wake with a dry throat, nasal cavities, or mouth. CPAP motors are very quiet as well as to barely register more than a whisper.
This is simply the delivery device which transports its pressurized air from your motor to the mask of the wearer. While a lot of hoses are normally 6 feet length, the hoses diameter can be different based on the machine that you use. Now, most hoses are heated to decrease water condensation accumulation as a result of the humidifiers.
It comes in all sizes and shapes because not every person will feel relaxed to wear the same masks as another person. While shapes and sizes may vary to fit variously shaped faces, typically, there are three mask type variations for you to choose from nasal masks, nasal pillows, and full face masks. Searching for the right mask for personal comfort level is the most important aspect of CPAP compliance.
As soon as you have been given a CPAP machine for you to take home, an essential thing to do for your health is to make use of it REGULARLY!! To help alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea the device has to be utilized on a nightly basis.
As you discontinue use, the symptoms will return quickly. This is because CPAP utilization is a therapy and not a cure, which make compliance important in getting the treatment you require.