Sleep apnea is a fairly common but serious illness. It is characterized by periods during the sleep cycle when a person's breathing card is interrupted. These periods can last from ten to twenty seconds or more and can occur up to twenty or thirty times an hour. Sufferers often experience sleepiness today and risk other health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the world today. It is usually characterized by the less than normal restraint of breathing. Breathing is not completely stopped, but interrupted. Usually, the soft tissues collapse in the back of the throat and temporarily close the airways, causing the person concerned to stop breathing for a few seconds. Left untreated, the condition may be life threatening. There are well documented treatments by medical experts such as surgical and sleep-breathing respirators.
There are three types: Obstructive, also known as OSA, Central or CSA, and complex or mixed sleep apnea.
OSA is the result of the muscles of the uvula and soft gum that relax too much and begins slowly. This causes the airway to block and collapse. The body tries to breathe normally, but can not. Because it can not, oxygen levels in the blood will sink. When oxygen levels drop, the brain responds by sending a signal to the body and informing it that it must wake up and breathe.
Individuals suffering from OSA often have a trachea that is narrower than normal at the base of the tongue and groin and / or has low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway. Becoming obese, drinking alcohol, taking tranquilizers, antihistamines or sleeping pills may worsen the condition. OSA is the most common type of apnea. Although not all people sniffing suffer from OSA, snoring is one of its symptoms.
The causes of CSA are completely different from the OSA. Unlike OSA, which is physical origin, CSA is a type of neurological disorder where the brain transmits the delayed or confused signals to the respiratory system.
The origin of CSA lies in the way breathing is monitored by the body. The problem begins when a person's brain begins to ignore the oxygen levels of the blood. Instead, it begins to regulate respiration based on measurements of carbon dioxide levels. A person's respiration begins to react to levels, increases when they are too high and decrease when they fall.
As the carbon dioxide content increases, the brain sends the message for breathing to gain momentum. As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood decreases. But the brain reacts too slowly to the drop, and continues to send out the signal for faster breathing. This causes the levels to fall too low. It must then send another message telling the body to slow down the breath. Breathing then slows or ends, until carbon dioxide levels start climbing again. The resulting pattern of abnormal breathing is called "Cheyne-Stokes" breathing. This type of apnea is most seen in people over thirty years old.
The third apnea type is a combination of the other two types, as the name suggests. Mixed or complex, sleep apnea, is marked by prolonged periods of OSA mixed with short periods of CSA. According to the studies, when the OSA has been treated, CSA will disappear or decrease automatically.
Sleep apnea should not be ignored. It can seriously affect human health and their lives in general. Treatment options are available. CPAP therapy is used quite often effectively when treating the condition. Oral Appliance Therapy, which uses a dental device to keep the airway open and surgery can also help treat OSA. Anyone who believes that they may suffer from the condition should talk with their doctor about it.