30% of all people living in America are unfortunate enough to suffer from symptoms of chronic snoring, and unfortunately, their sleeping partners constantly have to suffer for it. Snoring isn’t just an annoyance to those that are kept awake by it, but a potentially very harmful condition that can cause emotional rifts in a relationship and very real health complications in the long run. Over seventy percent of all people report having to sleep in the same bed or room as someone who snores loudly and consistently; because of the issue, the person has to be awake all throughout the night just praying for a second of shuteye in spite of their unknowing partner caught in noisy dreamland. If you’re not able to get a good night’s sleep, then you may as well not even be resting at all; you may as well be having a constant nightmare that you have the misfortune of being awake for while it happens.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a severe disorder that interrupts a person’s sleep and prevents them from obtaining deep rhythmic and restorative sleep. This type of sleep is critical to renew and regenerate the body as well as maintaining a healthy mind and other bodily functions.
Generally, this sleep disorder can be caused by a number of conditions. Some of those conditions include the tongue and muscles of the throat becoming too relaxed, if an individual is overweight, the natural aging process and if the tonsils and tongue are larger proportionately than the opening of the windpipe.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of sleep apnea in both men and women. Those factors include one’s genetic makeup or heredity, being overweight, having a small jawbone in comparison to larger tonsils or a tongue or having a deviated septum or sinus problems.
In addition, to disrupting the breathing pattern and cycle of an individual, the person who suffers from apnea literally stops breathing. This can occur from anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds of not breathing. In addition, this cessation of breathing can occur sometimes over 100 times during the course of an evening.
The word apnea is comprised of two Greek words. The letter A means without and the word pnea means breathe. Therefore the combination of the two words literally means without breath.
How Sleep Apnea Works
Sleep apnea is relatively easy enough to understand on a basic level. Essentially, you’re constantly phasing in and out of states of rest and consciousness with little to no control over when it happens. Because the airway of someone with sleep apnea is generally always occluded to some degree, if you have sleep apnea then you’ll probably be susceptible to issues with breathing while you’re asleep. The blocked airway will cause excess friction with the vibration of the throat and cause the jarring, peace-breaking sound of snoring that the entire world is all too familiar with.
Snoring isn’t just a matter of making sure that you don’t annoy your partner, but also a matter of ensuring that you don’t have any serious complications with your lungs and throat that may be indicative of deeper issues with your health. If you have the condition then it probably isn’t too uncommon for you to be sometimes jolted out of your sleep due to sudden gasp or tightening of your throat that allowed no breathing whatsoever. In a single night, you may find yourself shooting out of sleep up to fifty separate times.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a very dry or sore throat. In addition, the individual may experience or others around them will be disrupted with loud snoring. Another symptom of apnea is due to the fact that the individual stops breathing. Therefore, they may find themselves waking up gasping for air. Additionally, if the individual is not refreshed the next day or lacks energy or is sleepy this may be an indication of sleep apnea. This lack of energy may also be accompanied with headaches in the morning. Another significant symptom of sleep apnea is an individual’s change in their day to day habits. Those habits could include a disinterest in sex, forgetfulness and extreme mood swings.
Sleep apnea can be caused by a number of significant factors. One of those factors is simply by being a male. Another major factor contributing to sleep apnea is if the individual is overweight or is beyond the age of 40. Also, a strong possibility of developing sleep apnea is if a male has a neck size of 17 inches or more and a woman has a neck size of 16 inches or greater.
Other major factors that can contribute to sleep apnea include one’s family history, being diagnosed with gastro esophageal reflux, having a deviated septum or other sinus problems. Additionally, there are many physical features that lend it to developing sleep apnea. Those physical features include a small mandible or jawbone, a large tongue or large tonsils.
As many people in a shared-bed relationship can testify, hearing someone snore all night can sometimes be a little more than just tad bit bothersome; this is called the effect of second-hand snoring, named after second-hand smoking. Second-hand snoring won’t be putting any innocent people at risk of lung cancer, but it is a destructive habit that’s capable of harming relationships in the long run if there isn’t an understanding and possibly some form of intervention if no compromise can be made. An extreme snorer’s snoring can actually reach the intensity of a blender running on full blast for almost eight uninterrupted hours; imagine trying to fall asleep with your head right next to that. Imagine trying to fall asleep with your head next to a blender after you’ve had a rough day. Imagine trying to fall asleep with your head next to a blender after you’ve had a rough day and need to be awake in three hours to get to work on time; you can quickly see how a seemingly benign snoring habit can quickly become a serious interpersonal issue. The Mayo Clinic even went as far as to report that those who sleep next to somebody with sleep apnea are far more likely to experience chronic pain and complications in everyday life functions.
Some of the personal disruptions associated with sleep apnea include the obvious lack of sleep. This in turn can cause an individual to become irritable, sleepy, stressful, anxious, etc. In addition, the individual may experience some changes in normal behavior. Some of those changes could include a lack of sexual drive, or experiencing broad mood swings because of the lack of sleep.
Consequently, if an individual is not getting enough sleep there is a corresponding decline in their energy levels and their quality of life. Therefore, the individual may not be able to provide the attention needed to their place of employment or their enjoyment of family and related activities could be compromised and diminished as well.
In addition to personal disruptions, there are some major health concerns that may be possibly associated with sleep apnea. One of those major concerns was reflected in a recent study in which it indicated that those individuals who suffer from sleep apnea were at a higher risk of experiencing a stroke.
This health concern was for both men and women who experienced sleep apnea. In fact, the more severe the sleep apnea seemed for men the greater the possibility of a stroke. Whereas for a woman, the less severe the disorder of sleep apnea still equated to a significant risk of stroke.
In addition, a recent study conducted of those individual males suffering from sleep deprivation showed a marked risk for developing cancer. This particular study showed a significant link between the lack of sleep and prostate cancer.
Thankfully, the solutions to sleep apnea are not as extreme as the dire nature of the actual condition itself; a simple dental appliance like mouth guard can be sufficient. There are a number of lower jaw guards that are meant to position the jaw forward and up, giving the airway more resistance to the possibility of collapse and thus reducing the potential amount of snoring-conducive friction.
Sleeping is a necessity of life. Sleep is critical to the body for it allows the body to recuperate, the immune system to be strengthened and provide mental health as well. Obtaining a good night’s sleep is priceless as the individual wakes up invigorated and refreshed.
However, there are disorders that can prevent a person from enjoying this simple pleasure and natural restorative process. One such disorder is apnea.
Therefore, it is important to know what sleep apnea is, what the symptoms are and how sleep apnea is diagnosed.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that causes a person’s breathing to become shallow, or even stop temporarily, during sleep. It can result in fatigue and depression, as well as lead to various health issues, including hypertension. Because of the dangers of sleep apnea, it is important to see a doctor immediately when showing signs of the disorder. A doctor may ask you to take a sleep apnea test, which is known as a polysomnogram, or otherwise, a sleep study. These tests can be taken in either a sleep center or at home.
A sleep study consists of multiple components that electronically records and transmits physical activities during sleep to a sleep specialist. The sleep specialist then analyzes the records and is able to determine if a person is suffering from sleep apnea, or another sleep disorder. In some cases, when sleep apnea is diagnosed, further testing is required to determine the best possible treatment option.
In order for a medical professional to truly diagnose sleep apnea it is important that a number of tests be performed. One of those tests is called a sleep apnea test or a polysomnogram. This particular test can be done in a center designed to identify sleep disorders or can even be conducted at home.
Other medical testing equipment that may be used to diagnose an individual with sleep apnea could include an EEG or electroencephalogram, an EMG or electromyogram or an EOG, which is an electro-ocular program. These particular machines, respectively, monitor the brain waves, muscle activity and eye movements.
In addition, a nasal airflow sensor may be utilized to measure and record the airflow of the individual while they are sleeping. One other machine that is used as a measurement device to help diagnose sleep apnea is a snore microphone, which, as the name implies, records any snoring activity.
A doctor will typically request a sleep study test when a patient displays common symptoms of sleep apnea. According to a recent Release-News article, snoring has been closely linked to sleep apnea as a common symptom of the disorder, and may be treated in varying ways upon diagnosis. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue after a full night’s rest and short-term memory loss. A sleep study will monitor many different aspects during a patient’s sleep, including breathing frequency, the time between each breath taken, oxygen level, muscle and eye activity, heart rate, and pulse.
For those who partake in a sleep study at a sleep center, a private bedroom is assigned to the patient, which is often located next to or near a central monitoring area. This area is for sleep specialists to analyze sleeping patients and monitor physical activity. It is often thought that the equipment used for a sleep study will be uncomfortable, but few patients actually have a hard time sleeping with the equipment on. Home tests are also available, and includes portable sleep apnea testing equipment.
The equipment used typically consists of surface electrodes that are attached to a person’s face and scalp, which monitor and record electric signals, which are then sent to the measuring equipment. The electric signals that are monitored and recorded are produced by brain and muscle activity, and are sent to be digitally recorded. Other equipment commonly includes belts that are placed around the abdomen and chest, which monitor breathing activity, as well as bandage-like oximeter probe, which is placed on the finger and is used to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.
There are also other types of sleep apnea tests and equipment, aside from a sleep study and the standard equipment, including ECG, EEG, EMG, EOG, nasal airflow sensors, and snore microphones. An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is used to record heart rate and rhythm, while an EEG, or electroencephalogram, is used to monitor brain activity. An EMG, or electromyogram, monitors muscle activity and can detect the presence of REM sleep, the final and deepest stage of sleep. Finally, an EOG, or electro-oculogram, is used to record eye movement, which can be important in determining the different sleep stages. Nasal airflow sensors and snore microphones are used to record the airflow through the nose and recording snoring activity, respectively.
Since sleep apnea is an often overlooked and misunderstood disorder, it tends to go undiagnosed. However, it is a very serious and potentially fatal disorder, as it can lead to greater health issues in the future. It also leaves people who suffer from the condition fatigued and unresponsive, making them more prone to accidents and mistakes. Because of this, it is important to speak to a doctor as quickly as possible, and to undergo diagnostic testing if sleep apnea is suspected.
Please learn more at the Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America at http://curemysleepapnea.com/