As someone who loves his sleep, I decided to do a little research on one of the main contributors to poor sleep: sleep apnea. According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway becomes repeatedly blocked during sleep. This blockage can result in a reduction, or even the complete cessation, of airflow. Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a series of sleep studies. Specifically, they look to see how many times someone’s breathing slows, stops, or is otherwise normal during sleep. During this time, they will monitor oxygen levels in the blood and take note of any abnormalities.
There are a wide variety of causes of sleep apnea, including large tonsils, obesity, endocrine disorders, heart problems, or even because of a person’s unique physical structure. The common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring or gasping in the middle of sleep. Because of the unpredictable and seemingly constant abnormalities in sleep patterns caused by sleep apnea, sleepiness is often experienced by people with the condition. If sleep apnea is not diagnosed or treated, the lack of sleep, or even the lack of good sleep, can have profound negative effects on the bodies of the people with the condition.
Fortunately, some treatments can combat sleep apnea. The key is to maintain an open airway during sleep to prevent upper airway blockage. Breathing devices are often provided to individuals with the condition. These devices include implants, mouthpieces, or positive airway pressure machines. The treatment given is often related to the severity of the condition.
During my research, I came across an excellent article authored by Silent Night Therapy that debunks some of the common myths of sleep apnea. Before I read this article, I believed that sleep apnea only affected obese middle-aged men and women. The article showed me that I was wrong in my assumption. Healthy men, women, and even children are affected by sleep apnea. Additionally, even though I value my sleep, I did not think that sleep apnea was that serious of a medical condition. Again, this article proved me wrong. It explained that sleep apnea could lead to strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other serious conditions. This is because sleep apnea deprives the body of the oxygen it needs during sleep.
As I explained above, there are a wide variety of treatments that can be used to combat sleep apnea. However, a common myth is that sleep apnea can be treated by sleeping on one’s stomach or side. Unfortunately, treatment is not that simple, because sleep apnea is not related to body position at all. Lastly, the article stressed that while snoring may be annoying, it should not be left unchecked. This is because snoring is one of the telltale signs of sleep apnea.
Overall, thanks to the article, I learned a great deal about the specifics of sleep apnea, and the seriousness of the condition if left untreated. There are many misconceptions about sleep apnea, and this article was able to debunk them all.Read More »