Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be dangerous
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be dangerous and lead to other health issues and complications if left unhandled for too long. This sleep disorder usually causes a stopping and starting of breathing in a repeated, erratic pattern. Of all of the types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. The cause is linked to a blocking of the airway caused by the throat muscles relaxing in irregular intervals. This usually causes a noticeable sign of this sleep apnea, which is snoring.
The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea entail a variety, including: night sweats, headaches(usually the next morning), choking or gasping for air throughout the night, high blood pressure, and concentration difficulties throughout the day.
The population of those who deal with obstructive sleep apnea usually involves those who are obese or overweight, have thick or large necks, or have smaller airways within their throats, nose or mouths. Those with enlarged tonsils, or larger than average tongues may be affected as well. This condition is also more likely and common among men than women, and becomes even more likely as age increases, although the condition is not a normal part of aging. Other risk factors of this condition include diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and the high risk of a stroke or heart failure.
The diagnosis of the condition is fairly simple. The checkup will usually involve the doctor asking about your sleeping habits. Depending on the preference of the doctor, you may need to spend time in a sleep lab, or conduct a sleep study at your home, wearing monitors for breathing patterns, heart rate, muscle activity, and other vital information. The purpose of the study is to track how many times your breathing pattern is affected in your sleep.
There are many possible treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea as well. Weight loss, if needed, can make a big difference if at least 10 percent of weight is lost. The avoidance of sleeping pills and alcohol, as well as the use of a nasal spray can aid in the improvement of breathing patterns as well. In the case that none of these treatment options are effective, surgery may be needed. Surgery will usually involve the manipulation of the airways for those who have misshaped or extra tissue that block the airways in their throats and noses.