This May be the Answer to Your Sleep Problem

By: Lynn Fugaro

is a sleep disorder characterized by a reduction or stopping of breathing and air flow during sleep. It is common among adults but is rare in children. An apnea is a period of time during which breathing stops or is significantly reduced. Simply put, an apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for ten seconds or more. Apneas usually occur during sleep. When an apnea occurs, sleep is disrupted. Sometimes this means the person wakes up completely, but sometimes this can mean the person comes out of a deep level of sleep. Apneas are usually measured during sleep over a two-hour period.

Types of Apnea

The three types of sleep apneas are central sleep apnea (CSA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and mixed sleep apnea (a combination of the two).

During sleep, the brain instructs the muscles of breathing to take a breath. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the signal to the muscle to take a breath, and there is no muscular effort to take a breath. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the brain sends the signal to the muscles and the muscles make an effort to take a breath but are unsuccessful because the airway becomes obstructed and prevents the flow of air. The third type of sleep apnea, mixed sleep apnea, occurs when there is both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

CSA

CSA occurs when the brain does not send the signal to the muscles of breathing. This type of apnea usually occurs in infants or adults with heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or congenital diseases, but CSA can also be caused by some medications and high altitudes.

CSA, when occurring in premature infants, is defined as apnea lasting more than 20 seconds, usually with a change in heart rate, a reduction in blood oxygen, or hypotonia (a general relaxation of the body's muscles). CSA is not the same thing as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

OSA

People with obstructive sleep apnea have an airway that is more narrow than normal, usually at the base of the tongue and palate. When lying flat, the palate is above the air passage. When the pharyngeal muscles relax, the palate can fall backwards obstructing the airway. Patients with OSA often do not report waking up during the night.

OSA can cause the following medical problems (just to name a few):

&bullHigh blood pressure
&bullHeart problems
&bullWeight gain
&bullConstant tiredness
&bullDiabetes
&bullSlow metabolism
&bullMemory/concentration problems
&bullDepression
&bullAnxiety
&bullSore throat
&bullDry mouth

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