Sleep apnea is a disorder that can damage your life, so much so that it can cause death. This condition involves the inability to breathe correctly while asleep.
People with sleep apnea generally do not have an issue with falling asleep. However, they are unable to get a good night’s sleep since they are always waking up to regulate their breathing.
This sleeping disorder is associated with the muscles of the throat. As the sufferers of this ailment sleep, their throat muscles get overly lax, blocking the airway.
This blockage may continue for up to a minute before the sleeper is alerted enough to wake up and breathe. Though most sufferers of sleep apnea do not completely wake up with each blocking episode, they are startled enough so that they are unable to get restful sleep.
Most people that suffer from sleep apnea are not aware of the condition. Since the interrupted breathing does not fully wake them up each time, they may not realize they are having troubles throughout the night.
All they know is they are very tired throughout the day, no matter how early they go to bed the night before. In many cases, the issue is not brought up until someone else notices a person’s breathing difficulties as they sleep.
It is believed that up to 20% of Americans are affected by sleep apnea. The most common type of the disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, known simply by the initials OSA. Sleep apnea can be an underlying cause of very serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.
For many people, sleep apnea is a hereditary sleeping disorder. Obesity is also a leading cause of the problem.
There are many different treatment methods for sleep apnea. The solution tends to vary based on the severity of the condition. For those suffering from mild to moderate forms of apnea, there are devices designed to assist with breathing while asleep.
PAP, or positive airway pressure is a non-invasive treatment that involves air being blown through a mask worn while asleep. The pressure helps to keep the airway from becoming obstructed.
Devices worn in the mouth can also help to relieve sleep apnea. These dental attachments can vary in the way that they fit inside the mouth to keep the windpipe from being blocked during the night.
The most common of these are known as mandibular devices, which help to pull the lower jaw and tongue forward to prevent the obstruction.
Surgical procedures are sometimes necessary for those with sleep apnea that cannot be corrected with other forms of treatment.
Sometimes removing the tonsils is all that is necessary in order to help people breathe easily at night. In order cases, corrective surgery performed on the jaw or trachea is required.
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