Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, or OSAS, is a serious disorder that could cause heart problems, an higher risk of a stroke even more.
Only a medical professional can properly diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, which develops when an individual’s respiratory tract becomes obstructed and breathing ceases completely on many occasions during sleep.
Warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea include lethargy, irritability, a feeling of exhaustion, the inability to concentrate, heavy snoring while asleep and waking up short of breath or, in extreme cases, perhaps even gasping for air. Obstructive sleep apnea may lead to the sufferer to wake up as the muscles and tissue in the throat completely block the air passage and forces them from their sleep because of a absence of air.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
One of the most well-known sleep disorders, sleep apnea is a fairly common condition. Marked by interruptions in breathing during sleep, sleep apnea causes the person suffering from this condition to wake up, or partially wake, several times during the night. Because of the frequency of these interruptions in breathing, a person with sleep apnea will have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep, causing them to feel the effects of sleep deprivation during their waking hours.
Two types of sleep apnea have been diagnosed: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. OSA is caused by the soft palate becoming so relaxed that it actually blocks off the breathing passageway, while central sleep apnea is caused by the brain relaxing to the point that it does not remind the body to breathe.
While both types can cause interruptions to breathing on their own, most people with sleep apnea actually have mixed apnea, which is a combination of both forms.
Sleep apnea is sometimes difficult to diagnose, simply because it only strikes while the person is asleep and won’t notice that it is happening. Often times a doctor will prescribe a sleep machine such as a Continuous Pressure Airway Pressure (CPAP) which will help for some but not for many sleep sufferers which cause them to seek out CPAP alternatives.
Because most people with this condition awake only partially – not fully – so they do not actually notice that they have had their sleep cycle interrupted. Thus, if someone wants to determine if they have this sleep condition, they will have to look for the symptoms.
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive sleepiness upon waking. Because the sleep cycle is being interrupted, the person is not refreshed during the night and will wake up feeling lethargic, fatigued, or even feel like they need to go back to bed for another round of sleep.
Also, people with sleep apnea almost always snore; often very loudly. However, a person does not necessarily have to show these symptoms to have sleep apnea. In fact, a bed partner may be the only person to notice the interruptions in breathing during the night.
Additionally, people with this sleep disorder are often overweight to obese, so treatment usually involves helping people to lose weight. Treatment can also include eliminating alcohol or other substances that help people relax, quitting smoking, using special pillows or other appliances that help keep the airways open, or even special apparatus that uses air pressure to keep the airways open.
This last form of treatment, continuous pressure airway pressure (CPAP), uses a breathing mask to pressurize the airways and inflate them, almost like a balloon. Though this form of treatment is more than a little disconcerting at first, some people may or may not get used to the mask which causes many to seek out CPAP alternatives.
Sleep apnea is very difficult for a person to self-diagnose but, once the problem is found, there are treatments available. But for people who are overweight and have large necks, smoke, use sedatives or muscle relaxers, or just drink too much alcohol, lifestyle changes would be the best place to start either keeping sleep apnea away or treating it before it becomes a major health concern.
After all, not breathing is a problem whenever it happens. So by treating sleep apnea now, sufferers can keep performing the one act they need to perform every day and every night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
There are many of ways that obstructive sleep apnea can be treated. Often, something as simple as changing your sleeping position may help to curb the situation. For instance, individuals who sleep on their back tend to be more vulnerable to the tissues and muscles within their throat relaxing and creating complications breathing. For this reason, many experts think that by sleeping on your side can help to eliminate the problem.
One more natural fix for obstructive sleep apnea is weight-loss. When you’re overweight, or were diagnosed with obesity, a weight loss diet and exercise program can also help to wipe out obstructive sleep apnea.
Allergy sufferers are likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea because their air ways can be blocked and could be more problematic during the night. Freeing your house of allergens, such as cigarette smoke, pet hair and dust may assist you to breathe easier during the nighttime. The assistance of air filtration devices may also be beneficial.
If these treatment options do not provide results for your obstructive sleep apnea, think about the feasible use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This device provides ongoing air pressure to ensure the sufferer receives air during the nighttime (learn about CPAP alternatives).
Many people find solace with another product, the Sleep Genie, which is made out of a nylon Lycra blend and pleasantly supports the jaw while keeping the mouth closed during sleep. The Sleep Genie isn’t intended to cure sleep apnea on it’s own, but many CPAP users find additional relief as their mouth may remain closed and avoid the air treatments from escaping during the night.
This article is meant for informational purposes only. It shouldn’t be used as, or in place of, professional doctor’s advice. Before you begin any solution for snoring, please consult your physician for a appropriate diagnosis and remedy.