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Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep disorder. It is when your breathing frequently stops and starts again as you are sleeping. Keep in mind that you may be someone who snores loudly and might wake up still feeling tired even though you had a good night’s sleep. Whether you know someone who has suffered with sleep apnea, or have just heard of it in passing, it is a condition that has become more and more of a talking point in recent years. It affects millions of people worldwide, and yet it’s fair to say the condition is not especially well understood. Let’s take a moment to look at what sleep apnea really is, and how it can affect you and your loved ones and what to do about it.
What is sleep apnea?
In the simplest terms, sleep apnea is a condition where the sufferer’s breathing stops and restarts during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and complex. Obstructive is the most common. It is where the muscles of the throat over-relax during sleep. Studies indicate that as many as 50% of the population are affected by it at one time or another. Symptoms include loud snoring, waking up gasping for air, and both insomnia (disturbed sleep) and hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness).
Central sleep apnea is as a result of the the brain not sending proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. It is different from obstructive sleep apnea and is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea not?
Most who suffer from sleep apnea aren’t experts. It is important to gather accurate information on the topic. You are welcome to hear from an expert visit this site regarding sleep apnea. Explanations of the condition are often simplified with the layperson in mind, but sleep apnea is not just snoring, not something that just affects older people, and not confined to people who are overweight. For various reasons, some of those people are in higher-risk groups, but it can affect anyone.
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea in and of itself is less frightening than it sounds; typically, your breathing will restart within seconds although it is wise to avoid alcohol and sedatives as they interfere with this reflex. The major danger from the condition is what it can cause. Due to the dropping of oxygen levels in your blood, sleep apnea sufferers are more prone to hypertension (elevated blood pressure) and heart problems. The increased CO2 levels that result can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Fatigue and drowsiness are also increased and can have an ongoing daily impact, while people with the condition are also more prone to depression, stress, and short temper.
What should you do if you experience sleep apnea?
The truth is that there is only one way to deal with sleep apnea, and that’s to get to the bottom of what is causing it. For this, you will need to see a doctor, ideally an ENT specialist. They will identify what kind of sleep apnea is bothering you, figure out why it is happening, and can put in place a plan for dealing with it. If the causes of sleep apnea are addressed, it should stop happening (or at least not happen as often), and the issues that it causes should also be greatly mitigated.
Sleep apnea can be frightening. Nobody likes to wake up confused and gasping for air, or deal with the repercussions of insomnia. But there are ways that it can be controlled, and it doesn’t need to blight your life on an ongoing basis.
Let me know if you or someone you love are dealing with sleep apnea. Share your story and bring encouragement to others. Although, it can be scary to face, it is important to understand sleep apnea and how to overcome it.
Don’t let anyone or anything make you believe you are stuck.
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