One of the most common health disorders among people around the world is “sleep apnea”. In its simplest sense ‘sleep apnea’ can be understood as one or more pauses in normal breathing. In many cases the shallow breathing during sleep is also termed as ‘sleep apnea’.

A pause in normal breathing during sleep may have an undefined duration. Meaning thereby, the pause could be for a few seconds only or it can even stretch up to few minutes.

Similarly, the rate of occurrence of such pauses during sleep may also vary up to great ranges. It could be five times per hour or even up to 30 times an hour. Normal breathing generally starts immediately after such a pause but this re-start could generate a snoring or choking sound as well.

Once a person is a victim of ‘sleep apnea’ this disorder converts in to a chronic disorder slowly over the years. In majority of the cases people never realize that the ‘sleep apnea disorder’ has crept in their lives.

Research shows that among people suffering from sleep apnea disorder repeated pauses during sleep happens at least three or four nights every week. It is difficult to have a deep sleep for such people. Pause in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep repeatedly converts the deep sleep in to light sleep in nights.

Poor quality sleep during night affects a person in many ways. One of the most significant impacts of this disorder is the tiredness, fatigue, and uneasiness the very next day.

It is not an uncommon observation at places that people feel sleepy during the day hours. This excessive daytime sleepiness is a very common after-effect of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea generally remains undiagnosed and people continue suffering from this disorder lifelong. During every routine check-up it is even more difficult to detect this disorder for doctors. Sleep apnea cannot be diagnosed with any blood test.

It is even more surprising that majority of the people across the globe don’t know that they are suffering from sleep apnea. Reason being, it happens only during the sleep. However, a close family member or life partner may be in a better position to identify the sleep apnea disorder for the first time.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

“Obstructive Sleep Apnea” is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the air passage collapses or blocked during sleep. This type of collapsing or blocking may result in to breathing pauses or shallow breathing.

As soon as a person starts breathing immediately after such a shallow breathing phase or breathing pause the air squeezes first and this results in to a loud sound generally termed as ‘snoring’.

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common among the people who are overweight or obese. However, experts warn that it never means that non-obese people do not have such problem and obstructive sleep apnea can affect anyone anywhere.

Central Sleep Apnea

“Central Sleep Apnea”, another type of sleep apnea is not much common though. Occurrence of this type of sleep apnea is more connected to the human brain. As a matter of fact, there is a specific part of our brain that controls breathing operations by sending appropriate signals to the breathing muscles.

Problem occurs when this particular part of the brain stops sending appropriate signals to the breathing muscles. It results in to brief periods in normal breathing. During such brief periods in breathing a person’s breathing system does not make any attempt to breathe.

In many cases the obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea occur together but the central sleep apnea can happen alone as well.

It is important to know that central sleep apnea generally does not result in to snoring.

Once identified and diagnosed the sleep apnea must be attended at once as the impacts could be far more severe than anyone could have imagined.

Sleep apnea enhances the risks of high blood pressure, heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Sleep apnea generally increases the rate of irregular heartbeats and this in turn increases the risk of heart failure.

Continued problem of sleep apnea increases the chances of accidents while driving. Various work-related problems including daytime tiredness, sleepiness, fatigue and several other problems may also occur at the same time.

Possible easy options to avoid regular suffering from sleep apnea could be lifestyle changes that would help in overcoming the problem. In acute cases of sleep apnea surgery would be needed.

Depending upon the type and severity of the problem a doctor may advise the sufferer using specific mouthpieces, and other breathing, respiratory, or pulmonary devices.

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