Understanding a Sleep Apnea Disorder

by admin on February 17, 2012

A sleep apnea disorder can be a very serious condition if not treated because you actually stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. There are many different forms of sleep apnea, thought the most common is a blockage of the airways because of throat muscles closing. The good news is there are usually signs to be on the lookout for as well as different forms of treatment that can help you.

Sleep Apnea Disorder


What is a Sleep Apnea Disorder?

With a sleep apnea disorder, there is a problem in the air passage of your nose or throat that can prevent you from breathing correctly. This usually involves your breathing stopping and starting throughout the night, which can become very serious if you don’t get it treated by a doctor. The most common side effect with sleep apnea is the snoring that follows.

Just about anyone can develop a sleep apnea disorder. The most common patients to get it are older adults and those who are overweight. While there may be things that you can do on your own to overcome the sleep apnea, in many instances you will need to get some other form of treatment, which can be discussed with your doctor based upon what is causing the sleep apnea disorder in the first place.

By learning about the different symptoms of sleep apnea, you can determine when it’s time to see a doctor. The snoring, shortness of breath and experiencing drowsiness throughout the day are all reasons that you should see a doctor. In some cases, you may not even be aware of the problem, in which case your partner may be the one observing the signs and symptoms more than you do.


What are the Symptoms of a Sleep Apnea Disorder?

A sleep apnea disorder is different throughout every patient; however it’s important to recognize some of the signs so that you can do something about it.
Loud snoring is one of the largest symptoms that just about everyone with sleep apnea experiences. If you sleep through the snoring, anyone who has ever heard you sleep will probably be able to tell you about it.

There is also the possibility of experiencing daytime sleepiness, often referred to as hypersomnia. This can be extremely dangerous because it could cause you to fall asleep at work or even driving a vehicle. If this symptom is happening, you need to make sure that you make an appointment with a medical professional right away so that you can get the proper treatment.

You may also stop breathing at some points during the night. The breathing will (typically) start back up on its own, but you may awaken with a shortness of breath. If this isn’t happening, your partner may be able to observe the cessation while you’re sleeping, which is often very disconcerting because your partner will be waiting for your breathing to start back up again.

As a result of not getting enough air into your lungs throughout the night, you may experience difficulty staying asleep, headaches in the morning and possibly high blood pressure that can be difficult to control.

All of these symptoms of sleep apnea are cause enough to see a doctor and find out what is causing the sleep apnea. In some cases, you may even be asked to spend a night or two in a sleep clinic for observation so that they can find out exactly what your sleep patterns are and what the cause of your sleep apnea disorder actually is.


Treatments Available for a Sleep Apnea Disorder

There are a lot of different treatments for sleep apnea disorder out there and one of them will likely be prescribed or ordered by your doctor to provide you with some relief. You need to do something about the sleep apnea because it isn’t just about snoring too loudly. It is cutting off your breathing, which can be extremely dangerous.

One of the most common practices for sleep apnea patients is a CPAP or BiPAP machine. These are Positive Airway breathing machines that provide you with the oxygen that you need throughout the night to allow airflow going into your lungs so that you don’t stop breathing. Depending upon what you can tolerate and how bad the problem is will determine which machine you get. It will also depend on the style of mask you are given to wear throughout the night. The downside to these is that you will need to use them every night, all night in order to ensure that the symptoms don’t start up again.

In some cases, your doctor may talk to you about surgical procedures that are available to help clear up the sleep apnea disorder. This can include the removal of your tonsils, any extra skin or tissue at the back of your throat and possibly even a correction to your nasal septum. There are a number of conditions that exist that can prevent you from getting the correct amount of air into your lungs based upon what you can breathe through your nose or mouth. If surgery is an option, your doctor will usually talk to you about it.

If the idea of being on a CPAP machine for the rest of your life doesn’t sound like a very good idea, talk to your doctor about what’s causing the sleep apnea and if surgery is an option. He or she will then do some tests and diagnostics to see if there is anything that can be corrected or removed in order to help you get the breathing passages cleared out.

Sleep Apnea Disorder


Changing your Lifestyle can be the Best Way to Overcome a Sleep Apnea Disorder

There may be some ways that you can get rid of the sleep apnea disorder on your own, too. Changing up your lifestyle a little bit could help you avoid getting surgery or even having to use a breathing apparatus when you go to sleep.

If the sleep apnea is caused by your weight, then focus on going on a healthy diet so that you can lose weight. As your weight drops, your breathing will improve until you get the diagnosis that you are no longer suffering from sleep apnea.

Giving up some of your bad habits can also help. This includes stopping or reducing your alcohol intake and certainly avoiding it in the hours right before you go to sleep. Giving up smoking can also have a positive effect on your overall sleep apnea problem.

Other ways that you can correct sleep apnea is to use a nasal decongestant and stop sleeping on your back.

If you are suffering from sleep apnea, there are ways that you can overcome it with the help of a doctor. A sleep apnea disorder is serious, however, and you need to treat it as such.

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