Sleep Apnea: It can take your breath away!

You know that feeling you got when you first saw your high school crush? It felt like your heart skipped a few beats, you couldn’t seem to breathe for a few seconds, and you fumbled over your words to try to string together a coherent sentence.
Well consider this: what if something similar happened in your sleep, minus the warm fuzzy feelings? You may not think its possible, but its actually very common. It’s called sleep apnea and it affects millions of people each night.
What is sleep apnea? Its a serious sleeping disorder that can cause you to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds at a time, several times per hour. When you’re not breathing, there is a sharp drop in the oxygen levels of your blood stream, and causes interrupted sleep. While dangerous by itself, sleep apnea can also signal a much more serious health problem and is dangerous if not treated.
How do you know if you are one of many sufferers of sleep apnea? Many sufferers wake up in the middle of the night with a strong urge to use the bathroom. If you snore, often feel tired all day from unrestful sleep, or wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, these are also strong indications that you have sleep apnea.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, you should see a doctor immediately and discuss treatment options. A physician can officially diagnose your sleep apnea by conducting a polysomnography, more commonly known as a sleep study. If you receive a positive diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe you to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine which maintains constant airflow through your airways to prevent you from stopping breathing.
There are several types of sleep apnea which your doctor could diagnose. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is commonly caused by the obstruction of your air path, either by swelling, an enlarged uvula, or fat (most common in obese people). These obstructions reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs, which causes you to gasp for air because there isn’t enough going in. It’s important to treat obstructive sleep apnea right away because it can lead to other conditions such as hypertension.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs because the brain isn’t sending the correct signals to the respiratory muscles. If they don’t get the right signals, the muscles don’t know to breath, and breathing can stop, sometimes for an extended period of time – usually ten to twenty seconds. CSA is more prevalent in people who had cardiovascular problems as an infant, or who have a congenital heart defect. In order to properly treat Central Sleep Apnea, the underlying heart condition must be treated as well.
When someone tells you they have problems sleeping, ask them if they have sleep apnea. Now you can educate them and help them seek treatment. It is a very serious condition that could cause more serious health issues throughout your life. Seek a doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
If you are not diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may just have a snoring problem! Check out our recommended stop snoring devices that work.

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