What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a respiratory condition where a person stops breathing numerous times during sleep. It affects millions of people who haven’t been properly diagnosed. Read on to find out exactly what sleep apnea is all about so that you can tell if you are suffering with it right now.

Sleep apnea is most noticeable at night or any time that you lie down to go to sleep. The soft tissue at the back of the throat falls down over the opening to your airway so that air cannot pass. At this point you have stopped breathing. This process occurs as many as a hundred times a night.

When breathing stops, you are jarred awake. You often reposition yourself and start sleeping again when breathing is restored. Sleep apnea sufferers often snore. Snoring, although quite annoying to spouses and significant others, helps with continued breathing through the night.

Everyone that snores does not have sleep apnea but it is a symptom of the condition. There are other symptoms of sleep apnea: obesity, age, dry and sore throat, insomnia and headaches. If you are experiencing weight gain or find yourself having trouble getting motivated, your sleep could be the problem and sleep apnea more specifically.

Who are most affected by sleep apnea? Men are more likely to suffer from it than women. People over the age of forty show an increased likelihood of having sleep apnea. This doesn’t mean that other age groups aren’t affected. Sleep apnea can occur in children and young adults as well.

Lack of proper rest such as that which occurs with sleep apnea affects other areas of your life. The body doesn’t get enough time to restore itself and that can lead to diseases and other conditions manifesting themselves in your body. For instance, it is not uncommon for sleep apnea patients to develop high blood pressure and symptoms of cardiovascular diseases.
The brain is also affected by poor sleep patterns. It becomes harder to remember even the smallest things. As a result, stress levels increase and tempers get shorter. Performance on the job and at home is impaired. Undiagnosed, sleep apnea symptoms worsen.

On the positive side, sleep apnea can be treated. Make an appointment with your doctor to be tested to see if sleep apnea is your primary issue. The doctor will take a detailed history of the symptoms you have been experiencing.

If there is sufficient cause, you will be asked to participate in a sleep study. A sleep study is the primary diagnostic tool for sleep apnea. At a sleep center, you are placed in a room and hooked up to machines that monitor several aspects of your sleep pattern.

Sleep apnea is a serious but treatable condition. If you or someone you know has experienced sleep issues, see a doctor and get tested.