Understanding the Causes and Treatments of Sleep Apnea Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition that causes problems for many people. This article explains the causes, symptoms, and treatments for sleep apnea. Does your spouse complain that you snore so loudly that he or she can hardly stand it? Have you been feeling tired despite having slept for the recommended eight hours?
Sleep Apnea Both of these troubles are symptoms of a disorder called sleep apnea. This disorder occurs when a person’s breathing is obstructed during sleep. The obstruction causes gaps in breathing that last for a short time. This disruption of breathing results in your body not getting the proper amount of oxygen and rest. The obstructions in air flow can be caused by a relaxing of muscles in the throat. Air is blocked from entering the trachea. Another cause might be a mix up in signals sent by the part of the brain that controls breathing. In this case, the normal slow breathing of sleep is interrupted by an occasional neurological short during which the signal to breath is not sent properly. In extreme cases, both of these problems may be the joint cause of the disorder. In any case, though, sleep apnea leads to many problems in a person’s day-to-day life.
Causes of Sleep Apnea As previously mentioned, disruptions in sleep patterns are the basis for feelings of tiredness during the day. It can be very difficult to function at work, at school, at home if you are not able to get the proper amount of sleep. Those whose throat muscles relax, obstructing their airways, most often exhibit excessive and noisy snoring. Apart from keeping your spouse and others in your home awake, your snoring may prevent you from getting a sound sleep. Your spouse may notice your snoring—it would probably be hard not to—but he or she may also notice that your breathing seems to stop while you are asleep. Indeed, this is actually the case. If your breathing is obstructed, either by your throat muscles or by your brain sending the wrong signal, you will miss a breath every now and then. Hearing you stop breathing can be a scary thing for your spouse.
Those with sleep apnea caused by their brains sending incorrect signals will find themselves waking up in the middle of the night. In such circumstances, they will feel out of breath due to the disruption of their breathing. You may not be woken up during the night, but when you wake up in the morning, you may experience a sore throat or a dry mouth. While not particularly disturbing, these two symptoms can be annoying. Another annoying symptom of sleep apnea is headaches in the morning after you wake up. The headache may be caused by lack of rest or, perhaps, lack of oxygen. Possibly the most annoying symptom is insomnia. Those who suffer from this disorder often find that they cannot stay asleep the entire night. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, it is wise to consult a doctor. An experienced physician will know how to begin treating your condition. Be sure to mention any and all symptoms you are experiencing or displaying. The doctor will begin to determine whether you have sleep apnea or not. In order to be certain, however, you physician may wish to conduct a sleep test. During such a test, an expert will observe you while you sleep. The expert will take special note of pauses in your breathing. Making these observations will allow the doctor to make a definitive diagnosis. While it may not seem like that big of a problem, sleep apnea can lead to cardiovascular problems. The decrease in oxygen in the blood will increase your blood pressure. Additionally, your spouse and others in the home may not be able to sleep due to your obnoxious snoring. Do them a favor and go to the doctor! Treatment options for the disorder vary. In cases where the individualâ€™s throat muscles are relaxing and obstructing the airway a simple surgery can prevent this from happening. On the other hand, in the cases where the brain is the cause, only therapies can be offered to treat the condition. These therapies focus on treating other conditions that may lead to incorrect signals being sent by the brain. Your doctor will be able to offer the best medical advice. If you believe that you have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor.