Sleep Apnea Facts

Sleep apnea occurs frequently in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 and is one of the most common medical conditions. Sleep apnea poses a high risk if left untreated. There are three types of sleep apnea.The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), OSA affects people who are obese and those who sleep on their backs. There are three phases of OSA. The first phrase is where the soft tissue at the back of the throat relaxes and starting to close up. Next, the airway collapses and then the patient has difficulty breathing and gasps for air. This cycle repeats itself over and over again during the sleep process.

The second type of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea. It is very rare as compared to OSA. It occurs when signals from the brain to the chest to breathe stops. Certain diseases, such as neurological disease and heart disease can cause central sleep apnea.

The last type of sleep apnea is called mixed sleep apnea. It is a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea. First, the patient will suffer from central sleep apnea and then continues into OSA.

Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common effects from sleep apnea. It has the potential to cause serious accidents when it is hard to stay awake due to daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea can lead to headaches, memory problems and depression. Certain medical issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and abnormalities in heart function can worsen because of sleep apnea. Seeing a doctor and taking the diagnosis tests to determine if one is a sufferer of sleep apnea pays in the long run. One could make some lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if overweight, sleeping on the side and quit smoking helps to control sleep apnea. Surgery is the absolute last resort and the chances of reducing sleep apnea is only 50% of the time. The most successful treatment is the CPAP treatment, continuous positive airway pressure where a close-fitting mask is to be worn over the nose and helps with the breathing. The air supply is provided by a machine and this helps to keep the air flow open during sleep.