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Sleep Apnea Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder marked by pauses in breathing (apnea) or occurrences of shallow or infrequent breathing (hyopnea) during sleep.

Each apnea can range from several seconds to several minutes and may occur up to five times an hour.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when throat muscles relax.
  • Central sleep apnea,which occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome,occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Risk Factors Of Sleep Apnea:

There are different risk factors depending upon the type of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Excess weight

Obesity increases the likelihood of sleep apnea.

  • Neck circumference

People with thicker necks may have narrower airways and hence are more prone to sleep apnea.

  • A narrowed airway.

Tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged and block the airway, particularly in children with sleep apnea.

  • Being male.

Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women.

  • Being older.

Sleep apnea occur significantly more often in older adults.

  • Family history

Having family members who suffer from sleep apnea increases the likelihood of getting sleep apnea.

  • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers.

These substances relax the muscles in your throat.

Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway leading to sleep apnea.

  • Nasal congestion.

People, who have difficulty breathing through their noses, are more likely to develop sleep apnea.

  • Central sleep apnea
  • Being older

Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.

  • Heart disorders.

People suffering from congestive heart failure are more likely to develop sleep apnea.

  • Using narcotic pain medications.

Opioid medications increase the risk of central sleep apnea.

People who’ve had a stroke are more at risk of central sleep apnea.

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea:

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Attention problems
  • Irritability

Diagnosis Of Sleep Apnea:

The doctor may perform the following tests and evaluations in order to confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography
  • Home sleep tests
  • Evaluation of clinical symptoms
  • Oximetry

Treatment Of Sleep Apnea:

Overall, treatment for sleep apnea can be broadly categorized into two types:

  • Therapies
  1. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  2. Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP)
  3. Oral appliances
  4. Supplemental oxygen
  5. Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV)
  6. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP)
  • Surgery
  1. Tissue removal
  2. Jaw repositioning
  3. Implants
  4. tracheostomy

By : Natural Health News

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