Have you ever wondered whether you snoring could mean something else? If not, you should. Sleep apnea is a very serious sleeping disorder which is identified by periods of pause in breathing while a person is asleep. A person suffering from this disorder, will have breathing that abruptly stops and then after a pause, starts again. The pause in the breathing cycle is called an apnea, hence the name of the disorder. These pauses are variable in length ranging mildly to a few seconds and, more dangerously to minutes. The condition is an ongoing one and depending on the pauses of his breathing cycle a person may continuously move in and out of deep sleep, thus giving for a poor quality of sleep causing tiredness in the day time.
People suffering from this condition will be loud snorers. They will tend to feel extremely tired even though, in theory they got a good night’s sleep. The lack of sound sleep will cause the person to suffer from fatigue, leading to drowsiness and a drop in overall alertness. The condition may take its toll over the period of time, as every pause is essentially a stop in the flow of oxygen to the body. When left untreated sleep apnea has proven links to diabetes, heart problems and depression.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, as people with the condition may not realize that they suffer from this when awake, much like snoring. Only an observing person who can see the patterns and the breaks in breathing can alert the person towards his condition. There are three main types of sleep apnea all of which have similar effects but their method of action is different. The most rampant variant is called Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in this there is a physical impediment to the air flow despite a working respiratory system, resulting in snoring. The throat muscles due to the effect of gravity and the relaxed muscle tone during sleep collapse and act like an impediment. The snoring sound is caused by the breath of air trying to make its way around the impediment.
The second type of sleep apnea is known as Central sleep apnea (CSA), the lapse in normal breathing is because of impairments which prevent the brain from sending the correct signals to sustain the process of normal respiration. This form of the disorder is fairly rare and very dangerous. The third type of sleep apnea is called, Complex sleep apnea syndrome (CSAS). This condition has features of both OSA and CSA and comprises almost fifteen percent of all sleep apnea cases.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed by a test called the polysomnogram, this test electronically records the physical activities that take place during sleep. The patterns associated with sleep apnea can then be corroborated. Meanwhile the doctor may suggest methods to manage the condition by making changes in lifestyle. Obesity is one of the contributors of sleep apnea acquired later in life, losing weight can therefore do wonders. Lying on the side can also contribute to clear airways which can prevent obstruction.